It’s that time of year again; folks from around the county came together outside Parsons at Camp Kidd to celebrate the 2013 Tucker County Fair. This year’s fair was held from Tuesday, August 20 through Saturday the 24, with the action peaking on Saturday with the 4-H and FFA livestock auction.
Fair-goers were treated to all the traditional sights, sounds, and smells of the fair, with classic fair foods prepared hot each day and music every evening. Children visiting this year were treated to a large inflatable bouncy paradise, with a castle and slides. Wednesday evening also saw this year’s fair Queen crowned, with Savannah Ambrose taking the title of Queen Daphne this year. Jenna White was this year’s Jr. Miss Tucker County and Alyssa Hackney was chosen as Little Miss Tucker County. All three young ladies joined in the fair’s activities during the week, helping out and showcasing goods at Saturday’s auctions.
Excitement built leading up to the big finish of the week. A good-sized crowd gathered in the barn as the evening got going. First up was the sale of various local baked goods, which produced quite a bit of excitement as friends bid one another up on various tasty delights. Highlights of the baked goods auction include a butterscotch pie made by Lindsey Knotts going for an amazing $420, and Melvin Jackson buying a mystery baked good for $40. Mr. Jackson soon discovered he had bought a bag of ice, but it was all in fun, and the crowd had a good laugh as volunteers got the floor ready for the animals.
Members of 4-H and the Future Farmers of America showed animals they had raised this season throughout the week, leading up to Saturday’s public auction, which was sponsored by Robinson Logging. The livestock auction is a tradition at county fairs around the country, and gives 4-H and FFA members a chance to show off the animals they work so hard taking care of, as well as make some money from their efforts. In recognition of the time they spend and the work they did to help prepare the barn for the showing, awards were given out at the start of the auction to various exhibitors this year.
Soon the action began, with this year’s grand champion market steer, exhibited by Lydia Mullenax. Weighing in at a hefty 1,325 pounds, this hulking black steer was auctioned off for $3.20 per pound, making for a total price of $4,240. JJ Schmidle, with Mettiki Coal, purchased this year’s grand champion animal. The reserve champion market steer this year, raised by Samantha Betler, weighed in at 1,366 pounds. This animal was sold to Pat Darlington of Performance Motors for $2 per pound, for a final price of $2,732.
Next up were the feeder steers; the grand champion in this category was exhibited by Mikayla Long, with her 628 pound animal. The grand champion feeder steer was auctioned off for a total of $1,099, at a price of $1.75 per pound. This year’s reserve champion feeder didn’t go to auction. The best price for this year’s feeder steers went to Melanie Adams’ animal, which was purchased by Scott and Diane Hinkle for $2 per pound, making Melanie a total of $1,080.
The last of the cows, the feeder heifers, were on the block next. Abigail Long raised this year’s grand champion feeder heifer, with her animal weighing in at 528 pounds. This year’s grand champion heifer went for a total $1,108.80, with Moore’s Farm Service making the winning bid of $2.10 per pound. The reserve champion heifer also was not to be sold this year, and the Miss Long’s champion got the highest offered price, with most of the other animals in the category going for closer to $1.50 a pound.
Market rabbits were up for auction after the last of the heifers, with Angela Myers showing her pair of grand champion animals. The pair went for $40 to Lynn Smith. Most of the bidding for rabbits was modest, though Jenna White’s animals ended up being purchased by Eddie Evans for $85, the highest price for a rabbit at this year’s auction.
Up next were the chickens, divided into two categories, laying chickens and broilers. The grand champion layers for 2013 were raised by Ethan Carr, and were sold to John Beavers of Beavers Construction for a total of $60. This year’s grand champion broiler was showed by Mikayla Long and was sold off to winning bidder Allen Hartsell, of A&K Hartsell Farm, also for $60. The highest price for any chickens went to Will White, whose pair of layers was purchased for $90 by Marsha Doak, of the Picket Patch in Thomas.
This year’s grand champion hog was a hefty 258 pound market hog showed by Tate Mullenax. The hog sold for a grand total of $903, and was purchased by JJ Schmidle of Mettiki Coal. Lydia Mullenax raised this year’s reserve champion hog, a 255 pound animal that sold at auction for $765 to a smiling Eric Mullenax, of Mullenax Farms.
Also offered at this year’s livestock sale were market goats and lambs; with this year’s 83 pound grand champion market goat being presented by Lindsay Johnson. Lindsay’s champion animal sold for a total of $249 to Tag Stiles of Mon. General Hospital. Finally, this year’s grand champion market lamb was exhibited by Andrew Cale. With a final weigh-in of 130 pounds, Andrew’s animal was auctioned off for a price of $3.50 per pound, for a total sale of $455, to Wayne Smith of Grant County Bank.
Topping off the night was a performance by West Virginia-based country rock group Bowyer Drive, who played the last of a series of shows that closed out each night at the fair. Their rocking, energetic rhythms could be heard up on the hill at the barn, and their performance of “Take me Home, Country Roads” captured the essence of this celebration of local heritage.
County Fairs are all about food, family, fun, and community, and the Tucker County Fair has a little something to offer everyone. For all the hard work and time that everyone puts into these events comes a lot of enjoyment for all. Each year this spread out mountain community comes together in a celebration of summer to enjoy the fruits of each others’ labor, and to kick back, have a laugh and a hot dog, and take in the Fair.