Umatilla County Fair Announces Contest Winners

Fair Contest Winners
Two fair attendees admire the photography exhibits at the Umatilla County Fair.

The Umatilla County Fair wrapped up a week of exhibits, entertainment and carnival rides, but there’s one last piece of business left before closing the books on the 2013 festivities and that’s the announcement of contest winners.

Fair officials released the winners of the watermelon seed spitting contest, the backyard grilling contest, as well as the home ec special awards.

Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
Thirty-three fairgoers of all ages participated in the annual watermelon seed spitting contest at the Umatilla County Fair on Saturday. Famous Hermiston watermelons were featured during the contest and the Fair Ambassadors served as seed spotters and measurers. Each participant was allowed three attempts using watermelon’s donated by Walchli Farms.

Of the nine children who lunged and lurched at the starting line, 7-year-old Shane Comes came out with the winning distance of 9’5”. Runner-up was Abby Dainty of Hermiston with 7’2” and third was Camille LaBelle at 6’6”, both 6 year olds from Hermiston.

Twelve youths participated in the contest and the top distance of 19’10” was from 13-year-old Wyatt Paschal of Hermiston. Second place was a distance of 15’2” from Nathanial Jundt of Hermiston and third went to to Hermiston’s Ryne Andreason with a distance of 14’11”.

Colleen Sanders of Pendleton was tops in the women’s division with a distance of 20’5”. The next two finishers were Tile Hamilton of Hermiston with 20’4” and Kylee Andreason, also of Hermiston, with 19’10”.

The overall longest distance recorded Saturday was in the men’s division with Jeff Milles of Pendleton leading the whole day with 27’6”. Of the quartet of competitors, runner-up was Eric Palmer of Pendleton with a spit of 19’2” and third place went to Hermiston’s George Plaven’s who marked 18’4”.

Special Awards
The Special Awards have been presented at this year’s Umatilla County Fair. Photography, textiles, needlework, fine arts, baked goods, and creative kids were all departments with special recognitions.

In the photography department, the reserve champions were Benjamin Spinden, Samantha Mills, Kersee Lind, and Mari Garris. Grand champion photographs were by Jonathan Wilson, Samantha Mills, and Ron Ingle. Judge’s Choice ribbons went to Samantha Mills, Tegan Sager, and Robyn Hiatt. The fair theme award went to Darcy Sexton, and the Best of Show was won by Ron Ingle with a photo of a pool at the Hearst Castle.

Tablecloths, quilts, and handmade fans were among the winning entries in the textiles and needlework department. Reserve champion ribbons were awarded to Claire Bettencourt and Shelley Coykendall. Grand champion ribbons went to Atsumi Snyder and Shawn Lockwood. Grand Champions were Margie Robinson and Shelley Coykendall. The overall Best of Show was awarded to Linda Turner.

Fairgoers were treated to paintings, sculpture, beadwork, and sketchings in the fine arts department. Reserve champions were Amber Carnahan, Mikayla Marks, Sofia Gispert Tello, Chistina Skultety, Natalie Hughes, Ken Proctor, Geraldine Edwards, and Grayson Herman. Grand Champions were Mari Garris, Steve Mills, Christina Skultety, and Brady Collinsworth. Judge’s Choices awards went to Alyssa Harrison with a work entitled ‘Droplets on Lashes’ and the Best of Show was won by Angela McIntosh with a work called ‘Fantasy.’

Baked goods had several winners with tasty items such as candy, cookies, and breads. Reserve champions were Vicki Grass, Arianna Gonzalez, Jareth Maine, and Heather Smith. Grand champions were Susan Re, Deb Wilson, Karen Adams, Marnie Hulce, and Tegan Sager. Winner of the Judge’s Choice award was Julie Winters with quick breads and the Bes of Show was won by Susan Re with a bundt cake entry.

Children’s efforts were recognized with the special awards. The reserve champion was Lydia Vanderstelt and grand champion was Weston LeGore. Judge’s choice award was given to Kendyl Inners.

Preserved foods were ruled by jams, jellies, dried foods, relishes, and pickles. Reserve champions were Heather Smith, Kris Dorran, Tricia Lorence, and Ginger Wyckoff. Grand champions were Susan Booher, Karen Adams, Judy Castellaw, Carol Reese, Kris Dorran, and Vicki Grass. The judge’s Choice winner was McKaylaDyer with pickled asparagus. Best of Show as won by Judy Castellaw with a poultry entry.

Creative Arts was packed with hand-crafted works including reserve champion efforts by Grayson Herman, Diana Woodward, Grant Banister, and Steve Jonas. Grand champions were Robin Delesandro, Dennis Coykendall, Diana Woodward, and Pauline Vanderbrake. Judge’s Choice was awarded to Robin Delsandro for a wooden chest. The fair theme award was won by George Meyers for a horse-drawn wagon. The Best of Show was a rocking chair crafted by Dennis Coykendall.

Backyard Grilling Contest
Smokin’ hot competition was the order of the day at the annual Backyard Grilling Contest on Wednesday, Aug. 7 at the Umatilla County Fair. Local agriculture products are featured in this unique competition which pits local outdoor chefs against each other. A new Traeger grill went home with overall winner Sam Herringshaw.

The overall winner was determined by scores earned in the three areas of competition: tri-tip beef, potatoes, and onions.

The tri-tip beef contest was won by the Beef 52’s, followed by Team Herringshaw and Sumthin’s Burnin’. Ground coffee and celery seed were among some of the varied rub ingredients. Other options were a cracked pepper marinade and a not-to-be-divulged rub recipe.

Onions were one of the produce categories won by Paterson Guys. Runner-up was Team Herringshaw and third was Risky Brisket. The onions were flavored with everything from whiskey to bacon to Worcestershire.

Potatoes were the base of some creations which were seasoned with rosemary, garlic, and dry ranch dressing. Paterson Guys came out on top. Second went to Grillin’ –n- Chillin’ with third being Team Herringshaw.

The beef was supplied and sponsored by the Umatilla Cattleman’s Association and Cenex Harvest States. Onions were sponsored by Riverpoint Farms, while potatoes were sponsored by Blue Mountain Potato Growers and the Oregon Potato Commission.

Contestants submitted recipes for each entry and those have been compiled for publication.