In honor of the 2021 Skidmore, Missouri Punkin Show, here are a few notes about the very first Punkin Shows from the Skidmore Standard and Skidmore New Era newspapers:
1899 – October 11
The first Punkin Show was held at the suggestion of W. J. Skidmore, the “punkin editor” of the Skidmore Standard newspaper. The committee raised $61.50 in cash and merchandise from Skidmore’s business community to award as premiums for Largest Pumpkin and other prizes.
1900 – October 3-4 – Second Annual – held in Cook’s Opera House
This was the first year for the baby contest, the idea having been suggested by an unnamed Skidmore mother after the first Punkin Show. The prettiest baby under 1 year won $1 in cash, sponsored by T. L. Howden and Joe Cameron, salesman for C. W. Douglas & Son, “babies to be showed at 3 p.m. Thursday.” The winners, as listed in the October 12, 1900 Skidmore Standard, were: Prettiest baby under 1 year of age, Mr. & Mrs. T. E. Haynes. Prettiest baby between one and two years of age, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Shaw.
1901 – October 1-4 – Third Annual
1901 was the first year to include a horse show and was the first year to publish more extensive rules. The “baby show” was back — prettiest baby under two years of age was won by Mrs. Frank Goslee (1st place) and Mrs. Isaac Sewell (2nd place). This year featured the M. W. A. tug-of-war, the Royal Neighbors’ drill, the Skidmore Ladies’ 12-piece Cornet Band, the Maitland 16-piece Cornet Band, and the Skidmore Mandolin Club (7 pieces), with a base ball game each day, foot races, bicycle races, pie eating contests, and wheelbarrow racing.
1902 – September 16-19 – Fourth Annual, “The Biggest and Best Yet”
This year featured baseball, a “Grand Carnival,” entertainment by White & Lamart the “silent comedians,” drills by the Royal Neighbors and Modern Woodmen, music by the Graham, Maitland, and Skidmore bands, a horse and mule show, and “fancy drivers.” Every lady exhibitor in the Culinary, Flowers, and Fancy Work categories was to receive a “handsome especially designed souvenir premium.” We’d love to know what the premium was.
1903 – September 29, 30 and October 1, 2 – Fifth Annual
The Punkin Show committee printed a catalogue listing all the premiums to be awarded. Tomatoes and ducks joined the list of categories to be judged this year. Mrs. Missouri Linville provided a display of 60 varieties of beans, and A. F. Howden and A. C. Wood had displays of many fruits and vegetables, including 39 varieties of apples in one display.
1904 – September 13-16 – Sixth Annual
The print shop at the Skidmore Standard printed a program for the 1904 Punkin Show. The paper speculated that there were 10,000 people in Skidmore on Thursday afternoon during the event.
1905 – October 3-6 – Seventh Annual – First Flower Parade
The ladies held a pie social downtown to support the expense of a “Great Big Flower Parade” during the Punkin Show. “Some of our young ladies are putting forth their best efforts to arrange for a flower parade as one of the features of the Punkin Show. A good idea, let’s boost it along.” (Skidmore New Era, 24 Aug 1905, p. 5) The Executive Committee also announced that no cash prizes would be given at the show in 1905. Once again, catalogues were printed.
1906 – October 2-5 – Eighth Annual
“The best of the bountiful crops of grains, fruits and vegetables that the farmers have raised will without doubt eclipse anything of the kind ever seen in Skidmore.” (New Era 27 Sept 1906, p. 1)
It was a grand success, said the October 11, 1906 Skidmore New Era, with “the best display of grains, vegetables, fruits, fancy work, paintings, and culinary products that was ever shown in Skidmore.” The weather was fine, and the crowds were estimated as being the largest ever in town. That year included a “very fine display of paintings by Mrs. Moorhead and her pupils” and six free attractions daily, including the McCoy Family, the Sensational Oneills, and basketball and football games, as well as a hotly-contested tug-of-war contest between the local M. W. A. and I. O. O. F. chapters. Former Skidmore citizens sent contributions, including a plate of apples from Loveland, Colorado and a display from the Minco Real Estate Co. of Minco, I.T. Local businesses were also represented, with a display by the Skidmore Cement Stone Company “that caused considerable comment in favor of this high grade building material.”
1907 – September 24-27, Ninth Annual
The 1907 Punkin show was plagued by bad weather, “and on Friday, which would have been one of the best days, it was impossible to do anything on account of rain.” Trouble with the fruit crop left agricultural exhibits smaller than usual, but farmers still exhibited “some very nice horses, cattle and hogs.” The free attractions included gymnastics exhibits by The Hurburts and Edgar Coleman.
The Flower Parade carried on, but threatening weather kept the crowds away. The Skidmore Band had an entry covered in pumpkin blossoms. The first prize in Class A (Road Wagon) was won by Grace Bohannan and Maud Hutt, whose wagon was covered in purple, lavender and white chrysanthemums. The first prize carriage in Class B was decorated with white chrysanthemums and was driven by Mrs. Jordan and Misses Collins, Wade, and Brown. Class C included a pack-horse decorated in pink and white flowers, ridden by the Stevenson twins. When the clouds cleared on Saturday afternoon, the town put on an encore performance of the Flower Parade so everyone could enjoy it.
We are unable at this time to find information about the 1908 Punkin Show or confirm whether one was held. We’ll update you when we learn more.