By Tom Nauman
A total of 693 people competed in the Seventh Annual Illinois State Morel Mushroom Hunting Championship on Saturday, May 4, 2002, in Magnolia, Illinois. Approximately 170 were from out of state and six were from Canada. Sixteen busses transported them from Magnolia to a farm in Bureau County for the competition.
The winners were: Grand Champion: Randy Dedecker, East Moline, IL - 117 mushrooms. Women's First Place: Sheila Holmes, Villa Grove, IL - 116 mushrooms. Men's First Place: Phil Wright, Decatur, IL - 85 mushrooms. Men's Second Place: Don Davis, Pittsfield, PA - 82 mushrooms. Women's Second Place: Sara Haynes, Morris, IL - 60 mushrooms. Largest Mushroom: Randy Dedecker - 6" tall + 6" circumference = 12 ". Smallest Mushroom: Shelia Holmes - 1/2" tall + 1/8" circumference = 5/8".
Approximately 390 half-pound bags of fresh mushrooms were sold at the Spongy Fungi Festival auction in Magnolia that afternoon. Prices ranged from $15 to $45.
At the National Championship in Boyne City, Michigan held on May 18. Roger Thurow of Scottville, MI became a second time National Grand Champion. He was also the National Grand Champion in 1993.
Remember, whenever you want to try eating a mushroom you're not familiar with, check it in at least two field guides. If they say it's edible, try just a nibble, wait 24 hours, and if there are no ill effects then consume larger amounts. All past articles are available http://www.morelmania.com/5Mushrooms/index.html. Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments. Especially if you have ideas or suggestions for future columns: Tom and Vicky Nauman, Morel Mania, RR1 - Box 42, Magnolia, IL 61336, Phone 309-364-3319, Fax 309-364-2960, Tom@MorelMania.com.