SIDNEY — Many children will say “My mom made me do it” when they talk to their friends about “things” they had to do growing up.
For an Anna woman, the role was reversed when her daughter sent in an entry for the baked goods competition at the Shelby County Fair.
“I was forced to do it,” said Sondra Pence after her grand champion Iced Soft Lemon Cookies were sold for $350 Sunday night during the Baked Goods Auction. “She (daughter Erin Pence) just signed me up.”
“She was entering antiques so I decided she needed to enter her cookies,” said Erin. “I made her sign the sheet and I turned it in.”
Sondra, who entered cookies and bread in the competition, said she had originally pulled the recipe for someone else for the fair.
“This was the first time I ever entered the baking contest,” said Sondra. “Years ago, I had entered the decorated cake competition.”
Sondra and her family were walking around the fairgrounds when they made their way back to the Grange Hall to see how her entries had fared.
“We came back to look and I said, ‘Oh that looks like my cookies’.” said Sondra. And there her cookies were with a purple grand champion ribbon attached to them.
“She was stunned,” said Erin.
“It was a surprise,” said Sondra. “They are very good cookies and have a refreshing taste to them.”
Sondra’s cookies were purchased by Sidney Body CarStar, Detailed Machining, Shelby County Clerk of Courts Michele Mumford and Shelby County Treasurer Linda Meininger for $350.
Her sister-in-law, Susie Bertsch, Anna, also had some success at the fair. She had four first place winners sold during the auction.
There was another family connection with the grand champion dinner rolls. Lindsey Alexander, of Sidney, entered her Grandma’s Caramel Pecan Rolls.
“I had entered last year,” said Alexander. “This was the first year I won a grand champion prize.”
Alexander said she has made her grandmother’s recipe many times and decided to enter it this year.
Barker Insurance purchased grandma’s pecan rolls for $375.
Alexander also won the grand champion cake ribbon for her Triple Lemon Cake. It was purchased for $200 by Shelby County Commissioners Bob Guillozet and Julie Ehemann and Realtor/auctioneer Troy Kies.
“The lemon cake was a new recipe,” said Alexander. “I had tried it once before. I like a light, fluffy cake.”
And so did the judges since she won the grand champion prize.
Pat Woolley, of Jackson Center, entered six different baked good items in this year’s fair. She won grand champion in the breads and pie categories.
“I had entered eight but only six are here,” said Woolley, who admitted she ran out of time and couldn’t make her final two dishes.
Her Whole Wheat Bread and Pumpkin Pie were judged to be the best in their categories.
“I wanted a different recipe,” said Woolley of how she selected her bread recipe.
“I went through all my cookbooks that were my mom’s and I found this one,” said Woolley.
She also searched her cookbooks for her pumpkin pie recipe.
“I found it in an older church cookbook,” she said. “Most of the recipes called for pumpkin spice. This one called for allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon. I was out of nutmeg so I had to go to Walmart to get some.”
Of her six entries, she received four first place ribbons and one second place ribbon. The only one that didn’t was her pecan pie.
“My granddaughter looked at it and said it looked really dark, so I made another one,” said Woolley. “She volunteered to take it (first pie) home and eat it.”
Woolley said the fair’s baked goods contest and the Sidney Daily News’s annual cookoff are her favorite times of the year.
“This is my thing,” said Woolley. “When I was a kid, I was in 4-H and fair time was my favorite thing. I spend lots of time getting everything done for the fair. It’ll take me hours to straighten up my house after the fair’s auction.”
Woolley said she also collects recipes throughout the year in preparation for the fair.
Her Whole Wheat Bread was purchased by Detailed Machining for $225. Her Pumpkin Pie was purchased for $200 by Sidney Body CarStar.
The grand champion candy ribbon was won by Lynn Cook, of Sidney, with her Peanut Brittle. Her candy was purchased for $225 by Shelby County Commissioners Bob Guillozet and Julie Ehemann and Realtor/auctioneer Troy Kies.
Sidney resident Betty Watkins’s Homemade Noodles won the noodles competition. The noodles were purchased for $150 by Emerson Wagner Realty.
A new category this year in the baked goods competition was quick bread. Jennifer Knouff, of Minster, won the competition with her Sticky Bun-Pumpkin Muffins. The muffins were purchased by Jim Bertsch for $250.
The employees at two local businesses were happy when their bosses arrived for work. Both John Bertsch, owner of Detailed Machining, and Tom Martin, owner of Sidney Body CarStar, always share their goodies.
“My family’s been doing it (buying at the auction) for many years,” said John Bertsch. “I’ve been doing it for nine or 10 years.
“I just want to try to help even the playing field for all the winners,” he said. “I take everything to the shop and my employees eat it. So they can’t wait for tomorrow (Monday).”
Martin said he sees buying items at the baked goods auction as a way to give back to the community.
“I like to support those in the community who support us,” said Martin. “Plus my employees love Monday morning.”