By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
The events of the 2018 Tucker County Fair kicked off on Wednesday evening with the extremely popular Dino-Roar show that took place numerous times throughout the week. Every show was highly populated with viewers of all ages. Everyone learned a lot about the known facts regarding these historical creatures and witnessed life like models. The kids loved getting up close to these creatures and having their pictures taken with them.
The Exhibit Hall exhibits for the 4-H and FFA as well as Open divisions were judged and open for public viewing. There were projects ranging from canned goods, garden crops, basket making, quilts, educational projects, arts and crafts, and much more. According to Wendy Wolford, 4-H program assistant, “This was the most 4-H exhibits we’ve had in the past three years, and they all went above and beyond with hard work and creativity. We had two self determined projects that are going back into the community with Kristen Hicks and her “Free Little Library” that will be mounted near the extension office at the courthouse, and Jacey Davis with her self determined 4-H Barn Quilt that was donated to the extension office and will be hung at Camp Kidd.”
Prior to the 4-H and FFA Livestock Show, a skill-a-thon was held in the barn where any youth could test their knowledge regarding livestock and agriculture. “The stations were equipment ID, punnet squares, terminology, forages, feed ID, and medication label”, explained Jesica Streets, Tucker County Extension Agent. The highest score you could receive was fifty points, and Laney Burns scored a forty seven and Ava Wilfong a forty winning the two age categories
Serving as judges for both the livestock show as well as Showmanship the following night were two students from West Virginia University, Paige Bohren and Tanner McNeely. They took turns judging the eleven market rabbit pairs, fourteen laying hen pairs, twelve market goats, two market lambs, six feeder steers, one feeder heifer, four market steers, and twenty three market hog contenders. The judges chose those who best fit the market preferences and breed standards as the class winners and Grand and Reserve Champions. The Grand and Reserve Champion winners were as follows: market rabbits Hannah Cussins and Olivia Sigley, laying hens Marisa Judy and Abby Wilfong, market goats Hannah Cussins and Makenna Evans, market lambs were both owned by Hannah Cussins, feeder steers Ethan Carr and Laney Burns, feeder heifer Tabitha Adams, market steers Mary Carr and Tate Mullenax, and market hogs Hannah Cussins and Lydia Mullenax.
On Thursday night there was a corn-hole tournament that gathered quite a crowd. The winning team consisted of Kyler Metz and Cullen Kelley. Rocky Hebb and Nina Sharp also took to the stage and as always put on a great show. In the barn was the 4-H and FFA showmanship competition. Not only did the youth have to win their respected skill level in their chosen species, but they then had to participate in the round robin against all class winners with every species. At the conclusion of the show, the winners were as follows: Novice Grand Champion Makenna Evans and Reserve Emily Snyder , Intermediate Grand Champion Laney Burns and Reserve Hannah Cussins , and Senior Grand Champion Shelby Beavers and Reserve Mary Carr .
Friday night was definitely a good time in the barn for those who are either too young or aged out of 4-H and FFA events. A dozen kids age four to eight took to the ring, many for the first time, to try their hand at showing hogs. Aaron Harris served as the judge for the night and done a great job working with these youngsters and helping them understand what they can do to become better show kids. They were divided into age classes and the first and second place winners returned to compete for top honors. At the end of the final drive, Grand Champion PeeWee Hog Showman went to Marlee Evans and Reserve Champion to Alex Leary. The “old timers” were up next to dust off their show sticks and see who still had the skills. The event started with nine contestants with hogs and the judge eliminated a few at a time as he worked the ring through goats, cattle, rabbits, and finishing with lambs. The competition was tight but fun for all as the final two were deemed the winners. Grand Champion Old Fart Showman went to Heather Clower and Reserve Champion went to Taylor Nedrow. Michael Bonnet rocked the stage and is always a local favorite at the Tucker County Fair, followed by some square dancing fun that the crowd joined in on.
Saturday is always full of fun for the family and this year was no exception. The morning started off with the 5K color run where over thirty entries began their colorful journey. First to cross the line was Will White with a time of 18:27. The annual pet show which was open to anyone drew a good crowd as young and old took to the arena proudly exhibiting their beloved pets. Pets are placed first through third in the following categories: pet owner look alike, biggest pet, smallest pet, longest tail, shortest tail, fluffiest pet, and people’s choice award.
The Kingsford Pit Master contest hosted ten teams yearning for the 2018 title. Contestants could compete in chicken, ribs, best decorated tent, and overall highest score. The best ribs, best decorated tent, and highest scoring team went to Isabella Lipscomb and MaKenna Evans. The winning team with chicken as their protein and the one bite challenge went to team Plum Crazy composted of Jack Plum and Colin Lantz.
The annual baked goods auction kicked off the auctions for Saturday evening. Several items were donated to help raise money for the Fair Association. Fudge, brownies, cookies, pies, and cakes were plentiful as auctioneer Ritchie Vanscoy called out the bids. The auction raised over one thousand six hundred dollars.
Emotions varied within the barns as the youth prepped for the sale of their livestock projects. Prior to the bidding, a few special awards were given out to the youth. B&L Beef sponsored an award for the market steer with the highest rate of gain from weigh in last fall to the fair, which went to Mary Carr. The fourth annual Vickie R. Bright Memorial Award recipient was Makenna Evans, and the Farm Bureau showman awards went to Sidney Simmons, Tate Mullenax, Marissa Judy, and Aiden Sigley. The Good Housekeeping Awards sponsored by the Fair Board went to Madison Mullenax, Hannah Cussins, and Makenna Evans, and the Knotts Memorial Camp Scholarship recipient was Aiden Sigley.
The livestock sales went extremely well for the sellers at the 2018 fair. Market goats averaged $412 each, with Grand Champion being purchased by Dilly Camp Ground for $380, and Reserve was purchased by Mt. Valley Bank for $400. Highest selling goat, owned by Abby Wilfong, was purchased by Mettiki Coal for $625. There were only two market lambs owned by Hannah Cussins at the fair, with Grand Champion lamb selling to Mettiki Coal for $725, with Oakland Southern States purchasing Reserve Champion for $650. The market hogs sold very well again with an average price of $3.83 per pound. Grand Champion was purchased by Diane Hinkle for $4 per pound and Reserve was bought by Dr. Banfield for $3.60, with the highest selling hog, owned by Hannah Cussins, purchased by Kingsford Manufacturing for $5.05 a pound totaling $1,272.60. Grand Champion market steer was purchased by Mettiki Coal for $3 a pound, equaling $3,839, also the highest selling of the class, with Reserve selling to Eglon Farm Service for $3 for a total of $3,588. The average price per pound of market steer was $2.57. Laying hen pairs averaged $253 per set, with Grand Champion going to Performance Auto Repair for $220, and Reserve to Bob Gilchrist for $400. Top selling pair of laying hens, owned by Makenna Evans, was purchased by Cooper Preston for $500. Feeder steers sold next with an average price of $2.22 per pound. Grand Champion was not sold and retained by the exhibitor to return next year as a market project, and Reserve Champion sold to Parsons Woodworking for $2.05 per pound. The highest selling feeder steer, owned by Makenna Evans, sold to Tyler Amos for $2.45 a pound for a total of $1,269.10. There was only a single entry in the feeder heifer division, purchased by Robinson Logging for $2.20 a pound. Rounding out the sale were the market rabbits, also selling as pairs, which averaged $303. Grand Champion winning bid went to Mettiki Coal for $240 and Reserve to Moore’s Farm Service for $330. Highest selling pair of market rabbits were owned by Jacob DeVilder, and sold to Arch Coal for $600.
Anyone interested in becoming a part of the Fair Association can contact Regina Falls. The new 4-H year begins in October and any youth ages nine -19 interested in joining can contact the Extension Office, or speak with Wendy Wolford or Jesica Streets. High School students interested in joining the Future Farmers of America (FFA) can reach out to the new FFA Advisor Kelly Guthrie at TCHS.