MY FIRST TIME AS CAPTAIN CORNELIUS

7-18-16IMG_7463Before I started my internship here at IL Corn this summer, I was informed that I would have to dress up as Captain Cornelius at several events this summer. While I did not look forward to sweating profusely in a costume in 90 degree heat, I was excited for the opportunity. I mean, who doesn’t want to dress up and act crazy while dressed as corn? No one? Just me? Okay…

After several stints in the costume for various photos and videos we did here at the office, which you can see on our YouTube channel, I came across my first event to attend as Captain Cornelius. Last night, we had an event at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood, a south suburb of Chicago. The Normal Cornbelters were playing the Windy City Thunderbolts.

An hour before the game was to begin, we were set up on the main concourse. Myself, dressed as Captain Cornelius, waved to children and took pictures with many kids for a chance to win a gift card to Mariano’s. Along with me was a farmer, Jim Robbins, from Will County, to help pass out freebies and talk with consumers about our fields and environment.

7-18-16IMG_7493Right before the game was to begin, I was able to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. It was not a strike, but it did make it across the plate, or somewhere close to it. That wasn’t too bad for being inside the costume and not really being able to see out of it. Throughout the game, we walked around and spoke with kids and their parents about farming and their chances to win a gift card. I took numerous photos with kids, and even signed a few baseballs. It was pretty hard being the center of attention.

As we walked around, I heard many people talking about how I was just a piece of sweet corn, before being told that there are different types of corn, like dent, sweet, and popcorn. While there were many who called me sweet corn, there were also a good number of attendees who immediately told their children that I was field corn, and that I’m not the same thing as what you would eat at dinner time. It was refreshing to see and know that some efforts by the agriculture community are working to educate and communicate our practices with the consumers of the food we raise.

The best part of my night was when a little girl walked up to me and said, “My last name is Cornfield, so this is the best thing ever,” and then took a picture with Captain Cornelius. It’s the little things, I guess!

Want to come out and see Captain Cornelius in action? He and the crew will be out on August 2nd at Daley Plaza in Chicago and Silver Cross Field in Joliet, and also on August 13th at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. For a full schedule and other information, check out watchusgrow.org/corn

Cowger_Dakota_IL CORN INTERN 2x3 16

 

Dakota Cowger
Communications Intern
IL Corn

CORNBELTERS SCHEDULE

Normal CornBelters Baseball season is in full swing!

Checking out a minors baseball game is a great family activity. There is always something fun planned, below is a list of some upcoming events going on at the CornCrib.

Duck DynastyTo see their complete baseball schedule, click here.

June 17- Turn Back the Clock- 80’s Night

June 20- Sadie & John Luke Appearance/ Girl Scout Night

June 21- Cameron Cheers Appearance

6-8-15 Corny 2July 1- Mascot Mania

July 7- Banana Derby

July 8- Christmas in July

July 11- Mad Chad Appearance

July 12- Princess & Superhero Day

6-8-15 CornyJuly 22- Bark at the Park Night

July 25- Boy Scout Night

July 26- Dave the Horn Guy Appearance

PLAY BALL!

It is that time of year again!

The Normal CornBelters had their season home opener on Tuesday, May 19th.

The final score was 9-2 with a victory for the CornBelters.

If you are ever in the area, be sure to check them out! Here is a current scheduleCorn Belters

“Take me out to the ball game
Take me out with the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack
I don’t care if I never get back
Let me root, root, root for the home team
If they don’t win it’s a shame
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out
At the old ball game”

FIVE THINGS NOT TO MISS THIS SUMMER AT THE CORN CRIB

The CornBelters fifth anniversary season is going in full swing now. The corn is growing strong and starting to fill the empty fields at the same time the fans are filling the empty stadium to watch the CornBelters play ball! This season, there is a lot of exciting things going on at the Corn Crib! These are the five things you do not want to miss this summer …

1. Tim-McGrawTim McGraw on Sept. 12! Tim McGraw’s Sundown Heaven Town Tour will stop at the Corn Crib on Friday, September 12. Corn Crib Alum Jana Kramer and newcomer Dakota Bradley will be the opening acts for the concert, which will be produced once again by S.A.W. Events. The gates will open at 5:30 with the show getting under way at 6 p.m. Zach Linley and the Rebel Daredevils will be performing on the side stage from 6:00-7:15! Tickets will be $60 for reserved seats and general admission field tickets. VIP pit tickets will be $105. Parking is available at the Corn Crib and will be $20 per car.

2. Ggary allanary Allan on June 20! Gary Allan will perform on Friday, June 20th for the first concert of the summer at the Corn Crib. Country star Jamey Johnson and central Illinois favorites Zach Linley & The Rebel Daredevils will complete this great lineup, which will be produced by S.A.W. Events. The gates will open at 5:30 with the show getting under way at 7 p.m. Tickets will be $44 for reserved seats and general admission field tickets. VIP pit tickets will be $59. Parking is available at the Corn Crib and will be $10 per car.

3. Thursday Night Concert Series! New for the 2014 season, every Thursday home game for the Normal CornBelters, presented by Illinois Corn Farmers, will feature post-game concerts on the new “Grieder’s Patio At The Park.” The CornBelters will play their first regular season home game of the 2014 season (“CEFCU Opening Night”) at The Corn Crib on Friday, May 16 at 7 p.m. versus the Evansville Otters. During the CornBelters 2014 season, all Thursday home games will feature some very exciting bands. In addition to the post game concerts on the new “Grieder’s Patio At The Park,” Thursdays will feature $1.00 beers and $2.00 margaritas during the game. “It’s always a great time to watch these guys perform. If you don’t know who these acts are, I invite you to give them a chance. They will not let you down,” said Jason Williams, owner of S.A.W. Events. “What’s better than baseball and great music?”

4. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Night! The Girl Scouts will fill the stadium on June 14. All Girl Scouts are encouraged to get their group together and come out for a fun night at the Corn Crib. The Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of America will be in the park on July 26. After the game, all Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs in attendance will get to campout on the field.

5. kids at cornbeltersFan Appreciation Night August 28th! Aug. 28 is the final home game of the season for the CornBelters and will feature Fan Appreciation Night. This game is all about giving back to the fans that have supported the CornBelters over the season. There will be many fun surprises and prizes for fans. This is a game that fans do not want to miss. “Our 5th Anniversary is a significant marker for our organization showing the stability of our ownership and organization. We are proud of the fact that we have had a terrific 5 years here and we wanted to give our fans the very best promotional schedule we have had to date,” said Malliet. “This schedule represents a lot of affordable, summertime fun for families throughout McLean County.”

mike rainsMike Rains
Normal CornBelters

CORNBELTERS OPENING NIGHT, FRIDAY MARCH 16

There is a lot going on at the Corn Crib and around town surrounding the Normal CornBelters presented by Illinois Corn Growers. There are a lot of new additions in the stadium and to the players’ roster this season.

There are many promotional nights scheduled and we’ll have fireworks nights every Friday night! Check out all of our great promotions HERE.

Play BallThis week we’ve been playing exhibition games and the 2014 CornBelters baseball season gets underway on Friday, March 16 at the Corn Crib in Normal, Ill. The Corn Crib and the CornBelters are entering their fifth anniversary season in Normal. The CornBelters will take on the Evansville Otters at 7 p.m. in the opener of what promises to be an exciting season.

Our manager Brooks Carey has really been excited about all the new players we have added to this team. We have lots of players here with experience playing in affiliated baseball at the Double A and Triple A levels. He says this is by far one of the best and most experienced teams we have had on the field in all his years of coaching.

One of the things I enjoy doing is meeting people when I take Corny, our mascot, out into the community. We recently went to Saybrook, IL for their annual balloon flyaway. It’s great to get out in front of the smaller surrounding communities to show and teach them about the CornBelters.

We are really looking forward to the DuPont-Pioneer Summer Concert Series this year, starting with Gary Allen June 20 and later this summer Tim McGraw on September 12.

It is our mission to be the number one summer sports entertainment choice in Illinois. We strive each year to achieve this by building trust with our fans and partners, providing professional baseball, superb customer service and a fun and affordable experience every time they come to the ballpark.

Over the past our seasons, we have come a long way by consistently keeping this statement in mind. This season we look forward to continuing to build upon the relationships we’ve built with our fans and partners.

Brooks Carey has built a team will be competitive in the Frontier League and we will once again provide outstanding customer service; focusing on fun and affordability.

Hopefully you have your tickets for the home opener this Friday night and the home stand already but if not there are still some available. They start at only $6 each! Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office, or by phone at (309) 454-2255 (BALL), during normal business hours. They can also be purchased online anytime by visiting http://www.normalbasball.com.

This will be my first season with the CornBelters and I am excited to get the games started. I hope to meet any of you and if you have an idea for a partnership I’d love to talk to you, come on up and introduce yourself.

See you at The Corn Crib this summer!

mike rainsMike Rains
CornBelters

 

THE CORN CRIB IS STILL THE PLACE TO BE THIS FALL!

While the Normal CornBelters wrapped up another successful season earlier this month, it is not time to harvest the corn around The Corn Crib just yet…

We wrapped up the 2013 season on Thursday, September 5.  On the field, the team finished the season tying the CornBelters record for most wins in a single season (46).  They won a total of 17 more games this season than they did a year ago, and they finished fifth in the Frontier League West Division.  The team also had a record number of player contracts purchased by Major League Baseball organizations.  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 our 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!

What does this mean for farmers?  More non-farmers seeing your messages and learning about corn production 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!

HCC Baseball Practice (09.23.13)And though our season has come to an end, there is still plenty going on at the ballpark for you to see and for non-farmers to experience.  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/.

Our fans often ask me what the CornBelters staff does during the off-season.  The answer to that is simple…  We execute our plan for the 2014 season!  We have several full-time, front office staff members at The Corn Crib all-year-round.  Our jobs consist of numerous tasks, from selling tickets to attending community events throughout Central Illinois.  In fact, full season tickets are already on sale for next season!  For more information on full season tickets, please visit:  http://www.normalbaseball.com/full-season-tickets/.  If you are interested in purchasing full season tickets, please visit the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office at The Corn Crib anytime during normal business hours, or call (309) 454-2255 (BALL).

If you are looking for something to do this fall, I strongly encourage you to stop by The Corn Crib to check out a HCC game, or a special event, before winter is upon us and it is time to harvest the corn around the ballpark.  Of course, make sure to secure your full season tickets for the CornBelters 2014 season when you do!

kylekregerKyle Kreger
CornBelters

2013 NORMAL CORNBELTERS SEASON COMING TO AN END

normal cornbelters logoIt is hard to believe the 2013 Normal CornBelters season will be wrapping up soon.  Following their longest road trip of the season, the team begins a three-game home stand at The Corn Crib tonight against the Schaumburg Boomers at 7 p.m.  Including tonight’s game, there are only 18 regular season home games remaining this season.

The team currently has a 35-34 record.  They are six and a half games behind the division leading Gateway Grizzlies in the Frontier League West Division, but only four games back of a wild card playoff berth.  While they have improved from last season’s 29 wins, there is still work to be done in their remaining 27 games.  They are looking to finish the season strong and earn our first-ever playoff berth.

Case IH CombineWith the team on the road for nine of the past ten days, our front office staff continued with business as usual at the ballpark.  On my way into the administrative office earlier this week, I viewed a family taking photographs next to the Case IH combine outside the Barker, Buick, GMC, Cadillac Main Gate (a common occurrence).  It reminded me of the unique and beneficial theme we have had since our inaugural season in 2010.

Of all the 50 states, only Iowa planted more acres of corn than Illinois in 2012.  With Normal being located in the heart of Central Illinois (inside the “Corn Belt”), corn production is essential to our way of life.  It only makes sense we call ourselves the CornBelters, and we play our games at The Corn Crib.  It makes even more sense we partner with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) to help educate our fans on corn production in our home state.

Among other things, visitors to the ballpark cannot miss the corn planted outside and inside The Corn Crib, the Case IH combines at both gates, the corn signage throughout the ballpark and the corn facts shared during CornBelters games.  Plus, our fans can even purchase $1 ears of roasted corn throughout our games!  Without question, we have one of the most unique themes in all of professional sports.  More importantly, it is a win, win for everyone involved (Illinois corn farmers, ICMB, our fans and us)!

If you have yet to catch a CornBelters game this season, there is no better time to do so!  As usual, we have some fantastic promotions scheduled for this home stand…

Wednesday, August 7 – “Dog Night / Meijer Wednesday / Web Wednesday

Thursday, August 8 – “Miller Thirst Quenching Thursday

Friday, August 9 – “CEFCU Fireworks Friday / Facebook Friday / Salute to Armed Forces

To purchase tickets, simply visit the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office at The Corn Crib, or call (309) 454-2255 (BALL), during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. / Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.).  You can also purchase tickets on-line anytime at:  https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/team.asp?SponsorID=4098#.UbjDC_lQFid.

kylekregerKyle Kruger
Normal CornBelters

CORNBELTERS FINISH FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON!

normal cornbelters logoI guess time really does fly when you’re having FUN!  Believe it or not, the Normal CornBelters officially wrapped up the first half of the 2013 season on Sunday, July 14.

The Washington Wild Things will host the Frontier League All-Star Game, presented by 84 Lumber, on Wednesday, July 17 at 7:05 p.m. (ET) at CONSOL Energy Park in Washington, PA.  CornBelters left-handed pitcher Ryan Demmin, right-handed pitcher Drew Provence, first baseman Michael Schwartz and shortstop Pat McKenna were named West Division All-Stars.  Both McKenna and Schwartz were selected as starters at their respective positions.

The team is currently 26-22, only four games behind the Gateway Grizzlies in the West Division and two games back of a wild card playoff berth.  They’re 17-10 at The Corn Crib and 9-12 on the road.  That’s a stark contrast to a year ago, when they finished the season with just 29 wins!

Off the field, we’ve sold 62,253 tickets to our first 27 home games (26 openings), and we’re currently averaging 2,394 tickets sold per-game.  Plus, over 7,300 fans recently attended our second stand-along concert on Saturday, June 29 featuring Darius Rucker, Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer!

If the second half of the season goes anything like the first half of the season did, one thing’s for sure…  That is, our fans will continue to have some FUN!

The CornBelters will kick-off the second half of the season on Friday, July 19, as the team takes on the Evansville Otters at 7 p.m. at The Corn Crib.  It is “CEFCU Fireworks Friday / Facebook Friday.”  Gates open at 6 p.m., parking is just $2 per-car and tickets start at only $5 each!

To purchase tickets, simply visit the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office at The Corn Crib, or call (309) 454-2255 (BALL), during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. / Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.).  You can also purchase tickets on-line anytime at:  https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/team.asp?SponsorID=4098#.UbjDC_lQFid.

kylekregerKyle Kreger
CornBelters baseball