Ed Martin Sr.
Cooper Landing resident Ed Martin Sr. is not one to shrink from a challenge, even when it comes to clovers. So when someone told him he should try for the world record in 1999, he really got serious.
“How lucky can a guy get?” Martin asked Monday, displaying the placard that makes him the official holder of the 2007 Guinness World Record for the largest clover collection. With 111,060 clovers, he beat out the competition by more than 40,000 clovers. Although it isn’t known whether or not Martin will remain at the top by the time Guinness comes out with a new world record book, with more than 150,000 clovers in his possession since his certification, he’ll certainly give any challenger a run for their money.
“I average about one a minute when I pick up four-leaf clovers,” Martin said.
Already Monday, he said, he had about 15 clovers in his car, and said he once found more than 100 in one day.
Martin was surrounded by Kenai Mayor Pat Porter and Soldotna Mayor David Carey outside Kenai City Hall and received hugs of congratulations from Carrie Williams, a member of the Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce, and Kathy Roman of the Kenai Senior Center.
“The only other person in the world that’s done this is me,” he said. Martin said the odds of finding a four-leaf clover are about one in 10,000. “In order to find one clover, you need to find 10,000.”
Martin said in order to find a four-leaf clover, you need to find a clover patch and look for something different.
“Blot all numbers out of your mind and scan back and forth,” he said. “They’re a mutation, you’ll always find more than one.”
When Martin was able to come up with enough clovers to beat the existing world record, Guinness wasn’t going to just take his word for it. Although it took him years to come up with 111,060 clovers, the gargantuan task of counting them fell upon volunteers in Kenai and Soldotna.
“It took a full year,” said Carey, a retired U.S. history and government teacher at Skyview High School.
He said more than 300 high school students, young adults and senior citizens from Soldotna helped count Martin’s clovers. In order to come up with an accurate count, Carey’s students came up with an unusual method.
“You started with the very top (row of) four-leaf clovers,” Carey said, “and you put a little white bean on each of the clovers.”
Martin sealed the clovers in plastic laminate and they came in sheets approximately the size of a regular piece of paper, Carey said. For each clover, the student put down a white bean. As row after row was counted, the student moved the row of legumes down, adding an extra bean as necessary, until he or she had reached the bottom of the sheet, and all the clovers had been counted.
“They figured out moving the beans to cover every four-leaf clover allowed them to be absolutely sure they hadn’t missed a single different-size clover,” Carey said.
Once his students got the bean system down, they taught it to other students and volunteers who helped count the clovers. Carey said every volunteer signed a letter drafted on the city’s letter head to Guinness.
“We all knew we were going to help someone get in the Guinness Book of Records,” Carey said. “These young adults and people who helped played a critical part.”
Part of Martin’s philosophy when it comes to collecting clovers is that for every clover he gives to people, he finds two more. After giving a clover to every one of our troops overseas through the Red, White and Blue program, it’s not surprising Martin has racked up 150,000.
“Ed’s a living testament to be dedicated to something,” Williams said. “Although we’re beautiful, he makes it unique.”
Jessica Cejnar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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