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Original Issue

Midwest Midsummer

The sporting life flourishes along with the wheat and corn under hot summer's sun

The summer is long and hot, but the burning sun that beats down on the plains (which know the tornado and the blizzard in other seasons) is just right for the corn and the wheat that are flourishing now. There was a time, not too long ago, when the corn and the wheat growers who fill the nation's breadbasket were men (and women) whose work was never done. Today, emancipated by machinery and the automobile and the airplane, they are as free as any big-city man to enjoy the sporting life. Thus, smack in the middle of a corn field the Thoroughbreds run, and through fields of wheat wind the fairways of a golf course. Of course, there is more to the great Middle West than prime farmlands. There are the lazy rivers and the lakes that shimmer in the day's heat and send cooling breezes over the land in the evenings. To capture the magic of America's heartland in this wondrous season, Staff Photographer Richard Meek took his color camera and roamed over the Middle West from Ohio to Nebraska. On these and the pages that follow, he presents his vivid, intimate midsummer portrait.

A wheat farmer leaves his combine to chat with a foursome on the fairway that adjoins his wheat field near town of Alma. At right, a race meeting at Madison Downs has a lush corn field as its next-door neighbor

An outboard regatta on a summer Sunday draws families from Columbus to the shady banks of the Scioto River, to picnic and watch the racing hydroplanes whiz by

Minneapolis, too, relaxes right at home. At left, members of a riding club explore Long Lake in the early morning, while horseshoe pitchers (below) make the most of fading twilight in a city park. At right, small fry settle down to serious fishing on the shore of Lake Harriet