SIDNEY — Despite the Shelby County Fair being limited to the Jr. Fair this year, several families gathered at the fairgrounds Sunday evening to watch the annual Jr. Fair King and Queen Contest.
After a question and answer period, Ryan Bruns and Lauren Thornhill were crowned the 2020 Shelby County Jr. Fair king and queen.
“It’s unbelievable. I can’t believe I actually did it. I’m kind of in shock, but I’m really excited,” Thornhill said. “I’m amazed to be able to represent this amazing county fair. Even if I don’t get to go to state, it’s okay. It’s an amazing fair and it’s still great to represent it.”
Thornhill, 17, is the daughter of Ron and Carin Thornhill, of Anna. She is a member of the Anna Livestock Group and has participated in 4-H for eight years. During the question and answer period of the contest, she told the judges and audience that her family spent most of quarantine enjoying their time together and working on 4-H projects. She also shed light on her favorite thing about 4-H.
“There’s a lot of things that I love about 4-H, but one of the best things would be meeting so many new people and getting to show my projects that I’ve worked hard on,” Thornhill said.
Bruns, 18, who is the son of Ron and Margie Bruns, of Anna, is a member of the McCartyville Producers of Shelby County and has participated in 4-H for 10 years. Winning the contest and representing Shelby County is something he considers a high honor.
“It’s a privilege. Our fair not being canceled, and getting the opportunity to do this, it really meant a lot,” Bruns said.
During the Q&A period of the contest, Bruns informed the crowd that one thing they may not know about him just by looking at him is that he has a soft spot for animals and livestock, especially cattle and swine. He also expressed the importance of family.
“At the end of the day, they’re the people you can always come back to, they’ll always be there for you, and they’ll help you through the hardest times,” Bruns said.
After being crowned Jr. Fair King, Bruns said that his mom was a big factor in why he decided to follow through with participating in the contest.
“My biggest pusher is probably my mom. She pushes me to do a lot in the community, pushes me to do my best. Even when I don’t think I can, she’s always there pushing me, and I’m thankful for her,” Bruns said.
While the judges deliberated after the question and answer slot, 4-H OSU Extension Educator Cassie Dietrich spoke to the crowd, addressing the difficulties she and her team encountered while trying to plan the Jr. Fair with the ongoing pandemic, and being grateful that they’ve been able to pull it off.
“I’ll be frankly honest, this has probably been one of the worst summers ever, definitely one of the worst summers I’ve had here in my position as educator. It’s been challenging, not only because of COVID, but because of the number of things that have been canceled. Things we look forward to. It was getting to a point where we were trying to decide what to do with the Jr. Fair, if we would even have a fair, if we wouldn’t have a fair. It was a lot of conversation, a lot of back and forth.
“Now that we are here, I’m so excited and blessed. In the past week, I’ve had four colleagues who have had their fairs canceled altogether because they did not make decisions about their fairs early on. It wasn’t a switch they could make, and they couldn’t find the finances to do it. I know it’s frustrating, to only do a Jr. Fair instead of a full fair, but I hope that some of you realize that this may have been one of the wisest decisions we could have made.
“I appreciate the continued support from the community. There are, like I said, many, many colleagues who were unable to rally the troops in a way we were able to do in Shelby County. For that, I am very, very gracious, and I appreciate all of you,” Dietrich said.
Justin Puthoff, 18, and Jessica Colby, 18, were named Mr. and Miss Congeniality. Putoff was also named first runner up. Puthoff is the son of Jeff and Becky Puthoff, of Fort Loramie. Colby is the daughter of Craig and Patricia Colby, of Houston.
Jenna Allen, 18, daughter of Tina and Robert Allen, of Sidney, was named first runner up.
Casey Delaet, 17, and Mordan Meyer, 18, were named second runners up. Delaet is the son of Chad and Ann Delaet, of Russia. Meyer is the daughter of Greg and Krista Meyer, of Anna.
Also pariticipating in the contest was Emily Holthaus, 18, daughter of Kelly and John Holthaus, of Fort Loramie; Emma Michael, 18, daughter of Ted and Janay Michael, of Sidney; Josh Langenkamp, 18, son of Ed and Wendy Langenkamp, of Sidney; and Kieran Yarkosky, 16, daughter of Greg and Erin Yarkosky, of Jackson Center.
Animal shows underway
Prior to the crowning of the king and queen, the dairy cattle show, breeding sheep show, sheep showmanship, market lamb, fFA crop and shop were held. Creativing writing ards, along with the syle revue and modeling were held for participants.
The grand champion market lamb was shown by Brenden Serr, Progressive Livestock. The reserve champion market lam was shown by Preston Serr, Progressive Livestock.
There is no livestock auction at this year’s Jr. Fair. Donations can be made by going to the website https://www.shelbycojrfairsale.com/ until Aug. 15, 2020. Anyone who would like to make a donation in person can visit the Junior Fair Sale Committee barn from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the fairgrounds from now until Thursday, July 30, 2020.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.