A record number of non-farmers learned about agriculture and corn production this year at the CornCrib, the Normal, IL Frontier League baseball team with which the Illinois Corn Marketing Board partners to reach out to non-farmers in Central Illinois.
The CornBelters finished up their 2013 season on September 5. It was a record setting year all around for the team, tying their previous record for the most wins in a single season (46) and winning a total of 17 more games this season than one year ago.
The team finished fifth in the Frontier League West Division. They also had a record number of player contracts purchased by Major League Baseball organization. With four active players being purchased this season alone (Casey Upperman - Baltimore Orioles / Alex San Juan - Colorado Rockies / Ryan Demmin - Philadelphia Phillies / Alan Oaks - Chicago Cubs), it brings the total to seven in the CornBelters four-year history!
Our success this season was not only on the field. Ticket sales increased for the second season in a row! Total tickets sold increased from 117,599 in 2012 to 126,367 in 2013, and tickets sold per-game increased from 2,557 in 2012 to 2,579 in 2013. We finished the season with the fifth most tickets sold in the Frontier League. We also sold 7,137 tickets for our second, stand-alone concert on Saturday, June 29 featuring Daris Rucker, Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer. That marked a 2,541 increase from our first, stand-alone concert in 2012 featuring Dierks Bentley, Josh Thompson and Jon Pardi!
The CornBelters success is meaningful for farmers. As the baseball team continues to perform, fans get excited about watching and attending games. The increase in ticket sales means that more non-farmers get to have an experience learning about farmers and agriculture in Illinois!
We have several opportunities for non-farmers to connect with agricultural messages including kids’ activities (hop scotch and “are you as tall as corn”), educational signs (what are tassels and silks? What’s the difference between sweet corn and field corn?) and video messages that play during the games. If you haven’t checked out the Corn Crib, you really need to see this in person!
Here’s a quick example of the sort of messaging non-farmers get to experience in the CornCrib:
There are still plenty of activities going on at the CornCrib even though the season has come to an end. Nonfarmers can still get the ag messaging as the Heartland Community College (HCC) baseball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer are again utilizing The Corn Crib for practices and games. For more information on HCC athletics, including schedules, please visit: http://www.normalbaseball.com/heartland-athletics/. There are also several special events set to take place at the ballpark, highlighted by the IHSA Class 1A Boys Soccer State Finals on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2. For more information on all events at The Corn Crib, please visit: http://www.normalbaseball.com/stadium-events/.
Each activity is an opportunity to continue the positive gains we are making, sharing positive and educational messages about farming and agriculture.