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Farmers pitch films

Agriculture.com Staff 04/11/2008 @ 11:00pm

April at last! A new planting season. Opening day of baseball. Lights, camera, action!

You may not see the link between farming, filming, and baseball right off the bat. But the latest fence buster is The Final Season, released last year. It's based on the 1991 baseball team from Norway, Iowa (population 586). The team won 19 state trophies in 24 years. Then reorganization threatened its winning streak. The film was a personal passion for the producer, an Iowa native.

Ron Holubar was grinding corn one winter day two years ago when a scout stopped to ask if he could take photos of Holubar's farm near Solon.

His home became the home of the grandparents of a Norway Tiger. Ron, his wife, Mary, and four of their five children were cast in bit parts. "It's not every day you have Tom Arnold on your porch," Ron says.

Their friends and relatives across the U.S. recognized the farm in several scenes. Better yet, their kids took photos during filming and created 4-H photo exhibits for county fair.

It wasn't exactly an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, but the film's interior decorator did remove wallpaper in one room.

"Afterwards, I found out my old pattern wasn't available, but I decided I like the newer pattern better," Mary says.

Keith Volz and his two brothers played for the Norway Tigers. A nephew was on the 1991 team.

"We didn't know our farm was being scouted," his wife, Kay, says. "Two weeks before shooting, they said they wanted to make it a player's home."

The Volzes, who raise replacement Holsteins, sheep, and goats, say their farm was chosen because the film crew liked their diverse livestock. But it created some unscripted moments.

"Animals do their own thing," she says. "The horse they used was scared of our animals, grain bins, and the train. "We kept shoving cats into the barn, away from the lunch wagon."

Baseball movies tug at our hearts; maybe it's because the aim of the game is reaching home plate. The Field of Dreams baseball diamond has attracted more than a million visitors to Dyersville, Iowa. The Final Season offers a message of persevering against the odds that resonates across rural America.

Both families are excited about the movie DVD. But they'll keep their day jobs. "It's hard to make a sequel to The Final Season," Ron says.

The Final Season DVD is available for $26.96. Call 800/678-5752 or visit www.farmhomecollection.com.

April at last! A new planting season. Opening day of baseball. Lights, camera, action!

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