A Guinness World Record? Clover collection could bring good luck to former Nixa Police Department chief

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – A former Nixa Police Department chief is about to enter the Guinness World Records books for something unrelated to law enforcement, but something he picked up as a hobby during the pandemic, collecting clovers.

Yeah, he knows it sounds weird.

“Until now it was a family secret,” said James Bacon. “I get text messages calling me a nerd all the time. They laugh at me, but that’s okay. It wasn’t a hobby I was looking for.

And at the Library Center in South Springfield on Friday, Bacon took his clover collection one step further by installing video equipment and documents for certification of a Guinness World Record he was trying to set for the collection. of the greatest number of six-leaf clovers.

It all started two years ago when Bacon, who now lives in Ozark, was walking his dog.

“During the pandemic, I was trying to stay away from people so we would go to new places where it wasn’t as crowded,” he said.

Trips to various trails like the Ozark Community Center and Finley River Park revealed a single nine-leaf clover, a pair of eight-leaf clovers, 11 seven-leaf clovers, and 402 five-leaf clovers, and its world record of six- sheet total.

And those four-leaf clovers that are supposed to bring you luck?

Bacon has 3,483.

“Everyone keeps telling me to play the lottery, but I’m afraid I’ve exhausted all my luck on clubs,” he laughs. “I can tell you the exact day I started. On April 4, 2020, I found a four leaf clover and told my son it was going to be my lucky day. I walked around the block one day and came back with eight of them, and my wife told me I had only been gone 15 minutes. So what started as a novelty turned into an obsession, and now when we walk around, I constantly look down. When I come home, I have a wad of it in my hat, and my wife shakes her head and says, “You’re crazy!”

Bacon admits to having an eagle eye when spotting multi-leaf clovers from long distances, attributing this to his 29-year career in law enforcement, where he frequently worked with fingerprints.

“Fingerprints have a repeating pattern,” he explained. “So you’re constantly looking for something unique to focus on. So (regarding clover spots) the uniqueness for me is a clump which means leaf volume. Scanning the ground, I look for clumps. My wife is frustrated because I can literally get out of the truck and spot one she can’t see. It’s just a matter of knowing what you’re looking for, and just about anywhere I go I can spot a multi-leaf clover from six to eight feet away.

Considering that the odds of finding a four-leaf clover are 1 in 10,000 and the odds of finding a five-leaf clover are 1 in 100,000, the rarity of finding a six-leaf clover is even higher.

This is why the world record for collecting six-leaf clovers is only 27, held by a man from Hungary.

But that total is about to change.

Bacon assembled a team of two botanists and Ashley Reynolds from KY3 for the vetting process at the library center and filmed their role as witnesses since no Guinness representative was there in person.

Botanists carefully examined each clover to make sure it was the correct species (white clovers), and the three witnesses counted to make sure each clover had six leaflets.

“The thing to look for is going to be whether it’s hairless,” explained botanist Justin Thomas. “White clover is what you find in your yard between the mowing areas of your lawn. They are all basal leaves. They don’t have leaves on a stem. Other species of clover that we commonly see, like purple, have stem leaves and they are hairy.

Bacon brought home 48 six-leaf clovers.

In the end, 43 of them were verified, and it’s a new record wiping out the old mark of 27.

But the record isn’t official until Bacon sends the results to Guinness for certification, which should take a month or two.

“It’s a lot of paperwork,” Bacon pointed out. “Additionally, the whole process had to be videotaped, and we have to photograph all of the individual specimens to be sent to Guinness for them to certify.”

Bacon says he has no special celebration planned when Guinness lets him know he officially holds the record.

But he intends to give a reward to his faithful companion, who is responsible for making the record possible.

His German Shepherd dog, Draco, leads him on these trails.

“If I didn’t walk around, I wouldn’t have found the first one,” Bacon said. “He’s become very patient and he’s learned that when I say ‘Hold on’ he stops and sits down while I pick up the clovers and put them in my hat. I could get him a nice piece of steak or something he can chew on.

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