Land of 10,000 Stories: Son left with 109,000 of dad's caps

5:39 PM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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FROST, Minn. - With the corn in the bin, nature puts a cap on the growing season - while Scott Legried puts a lid on himself.

"DeKalb, it's a seed company," he explains, pulling the seed corn cap off his head, then putting it back on.

If Scott is leaving his farmhouse, you can bet he'll be wearing a baseball cap with someone's logo on it, "pretty much every day."

He's hardly a trend setter. Farmers are more loyal to baseball caps, than an outfielder on a cloudless day.

"It's just like putting your boots on; it's something you do," he says. But few farmers value caps like they do on the Legried farm.

In a shop across the yard, sits a pile of brown cardboard boxes. "Budweiser racing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, Farmfest," reads Scott, as he pulls caps from the boxes.

He points toward the stack. "These are all full," he explains. He opens the calculator on his phone and does the math: 66 boxes, each containing 24 caps. "1500 caps right in this stack," he says.

Proud as he is to have the caps, he cannot take credit for assembling most of them. That distinction belongs to his father, Buckey Legried.

"Well, it started in 1967," says Scott, recounting the story. Buckey began collecting caps after noticing a brightly colored array of them in his closet. Scott says his dad decided to see how many more caps he could assemble. The collection was born.

Once Buckey started, things just sort of took on a life of their own. "So his goal was to have like 10,000 and his next goal was to have 25,000 or 35,000 and then pretty soon his goal was to get into Guinness.

Bucky reached the Guinness goal in 2006, when he entered the famed book of work records with a count of more than 82,000 caps.

More hats line the basement walls of the farmhouse, with a special emphasis on John Deere caps. Buckey wrote letters to John Deere dealers and was sent caps from all 50 states and every Canadian province.

"I think about him most every day," says Scott, surrounded by his father's collection.

Buckey was 73 last September when he lost a two-year battle with cancer, leaving behind his collection, now numbering more than 109,000 caps.

"Yeah," says Scott, "I've gotten a lot of things in life I didn't ask for, good and bad. It goes with life."

The good would be knowing he can continue his father's legacy. And the bad? What to do exactly with the hats in the shed, the garage, the basement, plus thousands more stored in three semi-trailers that sit off to one side of the farmyard.

Scott swings open the back doors on one of the trailers. "She's full top to bottom, back to front," he says. "All hats, 24 in a box."

A few leaks have sprung in the trailer and at least one mouse has been nibbling on the boxes. "The longer they're in here the worse it's going to be for them," Scott says about the caps. "They've got to find a home."

A permanent home is exactly what his father wanted, and now a spark is being kindled to build one.

"It's a giant idea," laughs Cindy Lyon, executive director of the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce.

Cindy is pushing a plan to feature Buckey's hats in a new building that would also house the city's Jolly Green Giant museum, which is currently located in an old fire hall.

Cindy get excited just thinking about the tourist draw the two museums, together, might provide. "Come and see the giant and the giant Guinness book of world records hat collection," she proclaims.

The chamber executive director recently met with city and county officials to try to get the ball rolling. She estimates the building could cost $250,000 to build, much of it to be paid by private donations.

"You know it's Buckey's dream," she says, "and I would love to be able to see him someday and say, 'wow, we did it.'"

And If you, like Cindy and Scott, believe in life after death, picture Buckey saluting the fulfillment of his dream, with a tip of his cap.

"That's still the goal," says Scott.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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