by Tiffani Righero, Research Assistant, Fort Collins Local History Archive
A recent museum staff recent pie baking competition got me thinking about pie contests from the past. In the archive, we have a series of newspaper articles, pamphlets, and recipes for local and national cherry pie baking competitions from the 1950s. Twins Karen and Sharen Smith of Loveland were involved in the local competitions and featured in multiple newspaper articles. Their mother, Helen Smith, arranged the local and state contests and served as the secretary of the Loveland Canning Corporation. Their grandfather, J.W. Berry, was the director of the National Red Cherry Institute which sponsored the annual national Cherry Pie contest in Chicago. It seems that cherry pie baking was in their genes! Here are Karen and Sharen at age six at the state contest held in Loveland.
At age nine, Karen and Sharen were photographed in the newspaper again. As you can see, they are still chomping on cherry pie.
The twins were finally able to compete in the state contest at age seventeen. They had lots of preparation and practice prior to the contest. Not only did they spend childhood years attending and acting as unofficial taste testers at the contest, they also spent a whole summer baking and selling pies. The sisters were stationed just west of Loveland on Highway 34 and sold about thirty cherry pies a day. After baking a total of 2,250 pies in one summer, they should have perfected their cherry pie baking techniques. This newspaper photograph shows the twins again, but they are no longer eating pie; instead they are showing off their scrumptious creation prior to the competition.