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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The 1910 National Apple Show in Spokane produced a bona fide folk hero: Little “Pieface” Blankenhorn.

Johnnie Blankenhorn had acquired his nickname for a good reason. He won the Apple Show’s pie-eating contest in front of a crowd of 2,000.

All the contestants were under age 15. Their hands were tied behind their backs so that they couldn’t hold on to the plates. Most of them tried to chomp mouthfuls, but little ol’ Pieface dispensed with the niceties. He simply “plunged” face-first into the pie.

“The way they went at the pies and apples would have made a wooden Indian laugh,” said The Spokesman-Review, using a metaphor not exactly in favor today.

Pieface devoured half a pie in two minutes and five seconds. This was not some lucky fluke. Pieface had won the same contest the year before.

Only one person surpassed him in Apple Show popularity: Queen Idell Ide. This daughter of a Colville apple-grower had been named Queen of the National Apple Show. The paper called her “the most popular, most feted girl in this merry city.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1933: The United States and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations. … 1982: An agreement was announced in the 57th day of a strike by National Football League players.