The KRFO watermelon seed spitting contest at the Steele County Fair was decided by 1 inch. The ladies nail driving championship was won by :00.6 seconds. First-time participants Josh Storm of Owatonna and Sheri Sexton of Millville walked away with the titles.

Storm, the Owatonna High School boys hockey coach, won the watermelon seed spitting contest with a shot of 29 feet, 5 inches on Education Day Friday. The spit was 1 inch better than officer Travis Anderson of the Owatonna Police Department the day before. The early week leader was Bob Beier with a 27 foot, 1 inch effort while representing the Izaak Walton League.

There is a history of success from hockey people in watermelon seed spitting on KRFO. OHS girls coach Tim Hunst is a past winner and former Express hockey player Matt Lipinski was a two-time annual champion. Storm told KRFO's John Connor that his past as a baseball player gave him experience spitting. Storm also claimed to do some YouTube research leading up to the contest.


The annual ladies nailing driving was decided by less than one second with three finishers clocking times of under 19 seconds. Sexton stepped in from the crowd on Wednesday to fill an open spot and pounded in all five nails in 17.2 seconds. The time withstood challenges from previous winners Annette Balzer (17.8 seconds on Friday) and Rhonda Koeck (18.25 on Saturday).

The annual watermelon seed spitting contest was sponsored by Schultz Homes, Jensen Agency, Sweet Towing and Repair, Cash Wise Foods, Owatonna Groundsmasters, Hometown Credit Union and JB Liquor. As watermelon seeds get smaller and smaller, anyone with eagle eyes is welcome to help judge the 2017 contest.

The nail driving contest is presented by GMI Ritter Insurance, Napa Auto Parts Store, Front Door Realty, Community Bank Owatonna, Four Seasons Electric, Loken Excavation and Drainage, ABC Seamless Siding and special kudos to Cash Wise Foods, which provided all five contestants on Thursday. All five made it on time despite the storm that was sweeping past Owatonna at the time. Jenny of won that day with a time of 27.35 seconds.

Steele County Free Fair
Brad Fischer / Townsquare Media

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