By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
As last week came to an end, there were mixed emotions of relief, happiness, exhaustion, contentment, and sadness. Many individuals in our small community, especially the youth, consider the week of the county fair to be their vacation or the highlight of their summer. This falls especially true for the many youth exhibitors with their projects. They begin the fair so excited to showcase their hard work over the past several months or even a year just to end the week with walking through a sale ring and knowing this show year is coming to a close. Fortunately for them, a new beginning is just around the corner as they start preparing for the 2020 fair.
The week began on Monday with the entering of the open exhibits along with the 4-H and FFA entries. Tuesday is when the action really began with the inflatable activities opening for the first time along with a children’s pedal tractor contest in the barn. At 6 p.m. the annual Queen Daphne pageant made its presence on the stage to crown the 2019 fair royalty. The fair schedule listed a lawnmower demolition derby that was set to start at 7 p.m., though unfortunately there were not enough entrants for the event to take place.
On Wednesday morning, though events didn’t commence until 4 p.m., the barn was still a happening place with the livestock participants tending to their animals in preparation for the evening events. A skill-a-thon took place in the pavilion and the Children’s Pageant kicked off at 6 p.m. For those who may have been travelling between events, here are the results of the pageant. In ages two and under, the winners were Greyson Sexton and Willow Simmons. Ages three to five were Camden Thompson and Brayleigh Moore and in the six through eight years of age division, the winners were Aldean McMahan and Jaelyn Myers. An award was also presented in each age division for Miss Photogenic, and those winners were Kinsley Kisamore, Brayleigh Moore, and Aryanna Neville.
At the same time in the barn, the 4-H and FFA Livestock Show kicked off. There were over 100 animals calling the fair home for the week. They were being groomed and pampered in preparation for their show ring debut. Each species had a show sponsor to help support the cost of the awards. Entering first were market ducks, sponsored by Taylor and Brittany Barkley, which haven’t been a common entry for quite some time. Grand Champion entry went to Jacob DeVilder and Reserve Champion MaKenna Evans. There was a pair of turkeys, sponsored by Bob Gutshall of State Farm, entered by Evans which also won Grand Champion. Market rabbits followed, with four classes to be judged. The sponsors of this class were Lee and Linda Falls. Winners of the four classes were Olivia Sigley, Hannah Cussins, Baylee Lewis, and Kate Falls. These four individuals re-entered the ring to compete for champion honors with Cussins earning Grand Champion and Lewis Reserve.
Owen and Easton Wolford sponsored the laying hens that entered next with three classes to compete for the champion drive. Winning their classes were Isaiah Leary, Owen Knotts, and Jacey Davis. Leary took grand honors with Davis receiving reserve. The ring was readjusted to prepare for the market goat show, sponsored by Logan and Lydia Burns of Burns Farm, which also had four weight categories. Winning those weight divisions were Shayla Mason, Andrew Cale, and two entries by MaKenna Evans. Evans won both grand and reserve with her two goats. There was only one class of market lambs with six entries, with Tate Mullenax receiving grand and Hannah Cussins reserve. The market lamb show was sponsored by Kenna’s Deer Processing.
This moved the show into the cattle portion beginning with the feeder steer show, sponsored by Brandon Pennington and Dani Wilfong. There was only one weight division with the grand champion honors going to Ethan Carr and reserve to Tabitha Adams. Country Roads Boarding owner Ashlea Wolfe sponsored the feeder heifer class that contained two entries. MaKenna Evans won grand champion with Samantha Long earning reserve. Chad and Penny Smith of Whitney Construction sponsored the breeding heifer show having a single entry by Alaina Owens, who won grand champion. Market steers was the last cattle show of the evening, sponsored by Digger Adventures, LLC. These animals ranged in weights from 960 pounds to 1,498 pounds and were divided into three weight categories. Earning a spot in the championship drive were class winners Hannah Cussins, MaKenna Evans, and Shelby Beavers. Beavers was awarded grand champion market steer, therefore Jacob Beavers returned to the ring as the second place winner of that weight category. J. Beavers was then awarded reserve champion market steer.
Tom and Amy Nestor sponsored the last class of the evening which was the market hogs. These hogs ranged in weights of 200 to 295 pounds and were categorized into five classes. Winning their weight divisions were Karlee Smith, Mary Carr, MaKenna Evans, Jacob Beavers, and Tate Mullenax. Earning grand was Mullenax and reserve went to Evans.
While the show was going on Wednesday evening, the Dino-ROAR show took place with kids of all ages gathered around to witness these life-like, prehistoric puppets. A talent show also commenced on stage with Holly Ash winning first, Eliseo Wotring and Lindsey Hall was awarded second, and Caitlyn McCrum won People’s Choice.
Thursday’s itinerary offered an educational opportunity for the third grade students from TVEMS and DTEMS. The Tucker County Extension Office and Tucker County FFA set up stations for the students to rotate through and learn about topics such as butter making, Kingsford Charcoal, showing hogs, and more. A corn-hole tournament took place that evening with Dale Miller and Kevin Watson coming out victorious. The 4-H and FFA Showmanship Show was in the barn at 6 p.m. The exhibitors were being judged on their showing abilities rather than the traits of their animals. The youth were divided into species and experience categories to show off their skills. Winners of the showmanship contests were as follows: rabbits Vivian Crossland, poultry Joanna Leary, goats Braxton Smith, beef Alaina Owens, and hogs Isaiah Leary. Overall novice showman went to Owens with I. Leary earning reserve honors. In Tucker County Fair tradition, Rocky and Nina rocked the stage from 7 until 9 p.m. to close out an evening of fun.
Friday kicked off around 5 p.m. with the opening of concessions and the inflatables. Livestock Jeopardy took place in the barn while a cakewalk partook in the pavilion. Darkmatter performed on stage while the Dino-ROAR show drew a crowd as always. At 6 p.m. the Pee-Wee showmanship began with kids under the age of nine getting a chance to show a goat and a hog. There were over twenty entrants for the judge to sort through to try and narrow it down. The winners of the five heats of goat showmanship were Lyla White, Shaylea Wolfe, Kinsley Lewis, Kasen Wiles, and Marlee Evans. Those emerging as grand and reserve champion were Wolfe and Lewis. The youngsters then took their turns with a market hog with the heat winners being Alexander Leary, Marlee Evans, Alyssa Hebb, Kason Wiles, Easton Wolford, and Kieran Parsons. This lead to the round robin event where the class winners returned to cycle through the goats and hogs one last time. At the conclusion of the round, the judge awarded grand champion to Marlee Evans and reserve champion to Shay Wolfe.
Then it was time for the old timers. This event was open to anyone who has aged out of 4-H or FFA and wanted to participate. There were over a dozen entrants wishing to dust off their showmanship skills and head back into the show ring. The events started with the goats and after each species, the judge eliminated one or more hopefuls. After the goats it was time for the hogs then the cattle. By the time the cows entered the ring it was down to four individuals: Tanner Burns, Heather Clower, Vincent Moats, and Ashlea Wolfe. Two more people were eliminated before the final round, which meant Clower and Moats had to show turkeys. The judge had her work cut out for her as she asked questions to the exhibitors trying to justify her placing. At the end of the night, grand champion showman went to Clower for the second year in a row with Moats earning reserve champion honors. During the barn activities, there was also square dancing in the pavilion along with the Soda Pop Gypsies performing on stage to close out the evening.
Saturday was an action packed day to round out the busy week at Camp Kid. Concessions opened at 9 a.m. with a pet show beginning at 10 a.m. If you drove by County Farm Road between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. with your windows down, that delightful smell was probably that of the Kingsford Pit Master Contest. The winners were as follows: one bite challenge Brad Streets, overall winners Madison Mullenax and Brent Kidwell.
Beginning at 1 p.m. patrons could either join the Tucker County FFA in the barn for Ag Olympics or venture to the upper field to watch the first Tucker County Fair Mud Bog. There were 65 participants for this event with over 100 runs made through the pit. In the outlaw class, the winners were first place Glen Ours with a time of 2.516, Adam Waldron at 2.742, and Zach Frost stopping the clock at 2.977. In the Little Outlaws first place went to Derrick Wratchford with 2.249, Zach Frost at 3.080 and Brian Buckler with 3.204. In the Super Modified division, first went to John Gainer at 5.858, second to Mike Simpson with 6.199, and Nancy Simpson won third with 6.4123. Moving into the Super Sock series, Daniele Wilfong took first with a time of 6.092, William Kuhn second at 7.162, and Dakota Mooreland stopping the time at 7.615. Stock Class winners were John Burks at 10.104, Shane Burke at 20.687, and finally Hannah Batten with a time of 65.683. The fastest time of the event went to Derrick Wratchford with 2.2 seconds. The prize for this honor was sponsored by Performance Collision. The Dash for Cash event drew 20 kids to the pit with the first place winner being MaKenna Evans and second place Seth Bennett. The winner of the 50/50 drawing in the amount of $216 was Kelli Watson from Horner, WV.
“I am in total shock still,” laughed Wilfong, coordinator of the event. “I never dreamed our first mud bog event would be this huge.” “We had over 100 runs go through the mud,” she added. “I can’t thank all of the volunteers enough. This event has made me admire the sport of mud bogging so much more,” said Wilfong. “All of our racing family came out and showed their support to this first time event and I’m so grateful. The crowd was great, the racers were great, but the memories made and the fun had were even greater.”
For those who may not have wanted to attend the bog, Charles Wesley Godwin performed on stage and the Dino-ROAR event performed four shows throughout the day. From 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., Centerfire took their spot on stage and at 5 p.m. the annual Pie and Cake Auction began with Auctioneer Aaron Harris on the mic. American Idol contestant Cody Clayton Eagle prepared to take stage from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. to offer the audience a special treat. At 6 p.m., the barn filled with several veteran buyers and some new ones as well for the 4-H and FFA Livestock Sale. Prior to the sale beginning several awards were distributed to much deserving youth for a variety of events. The fifth annual Vickie R. Bright Memorial Award custom belt buckle went to Shelby Beavers, Best Decorated Stall went to Owen Knotts, B and L Beef’s Rate of Gain award for market steers was awarded to Shelby Beavers, Good Housekeeping went to MaKenna Evans, Farm Bureau Awards went to Shelby Beavers, Zada Carr, Andrew Cale, and Owen Knotts, the Knotts Memorial Award was awarded to Isaiah Leary, and the Helping Hand Honors went to Shayla Mason, Braxton Smith, Sean Simmons, and Sidney Simmons.
The market rabbits began the sale with the grand champion being purchased by Farm Credit for $400 and reserve champion bought by Golden Rule Farm for $500, which was the highest selling pair of rabbits of the night. Both these pairs were donated by the buyers back to the exhibitor. The exhibitors selling their rabbits averaged $240 for the pair. Market steers sold next with Mettiki Coal buying the Grand Champion for a total of $4,419.10 and donated it to the Tucker county FFA. This was also the highest selling market steer of the night. The reserve champion was purchased by Shop N’ Save for $2,838.00. The average price for the market steers were $1.88 per pound.
Harris continued on selling at a rapid pace, moving into the market goats. Meadowview Farm Supply purchased the grand champion for $300 and donated it back to the exhibitor, and reserve champion went for $500 thanks to Mountain Valley Bank. The highest selling market goat went for $1,200, bought by Bob Gilchrist, and the average market goat price was $460. The grand champion ducks were purchased by a Micah Mining for $525, highest of the ducks, and Performance Autobody purchased reserve champion for $250. The ducks were then donated back to the 4-Her’s. Market lambs followed with the grand champion going to Mettiki Coal for $750 and donated to the Tucker County Fair Board (also the highest of the lambs). Oakland Southern States purchased reserve for $475. The average price per lamb sold was $417. The grand champion hog entered the ring going for $4.25 per pound for a total of $1,253.75 purchased by Senator Randy Smith and donated to the Tucker County FFA. Reserve champion went for $5.00 per pound, totaling $1,190 and was purchased by Mettiki Coal and donated to the 4-H Teen Leaders. The highest selling hog for the sale was $5.25 per pound for a total of $1,470 purchased by Arch Coal. Average hog price for the evening came to $3.24 per pound.
Moving onto the feeder steers, the grand champion was retained by the owner and was not sold. The reserve champion was purchased by Ray LaMora for a total of $1,020. The highest selling steer brought $2.30 per pound for a total of $1092.50 by TKO Mowing and More. The average feeder steer price was $2.03 per pound. The only pen of turkeys sold next for $275, purchased by Arch Coal. There were only two feeder heifers this year with the grand champion being purchased by Windy Ridge Farms for $2.85 per pound for a total of $1,630.20. Reserve champion went to Robinson Logging for $2.00 per pound and a total of $1,150, bringing the heifer average to $2.43 a pound. The last species to enter the sale ring were the layer hens. George Wilfong bought the grand champion pair for $225 with Performance Autobody buying reserve for $300. The average price per pen of laying hens came to $271. This brought the grand total for the 2019 Tucker County Fair 4-H and FFA Livestock Auction to $71,212.60.
At the conclusion of the sale, the exhibitors gathered their things and began to clean their stalls. Parents and volunteers pitched in to clean the barn and make their way home with their exhausted participants. It takes an army of volunteers to put on a weeklong event such as this and takes months of planning and preparation. There were many traditional events taking place for the 2019 Tucker County Fair and many new attractions we hope to become annual events. Congratulations to all of the participants and thank you to all of the supporters in every capacity.