LIMA — The last day of the 2017 Allen County Fair featured a full slate of competitive events, from a baton and flag corps contest to drag racing and games for horseback riders.
The fair finale started in the early morning with the 32nd annual Baton & Flag Corps Competition, where students from nine area schools competed against each other in a variety of categories related to flag twirling, majorette lines, dance and rifle handling.
“It gives a chance for the young ladies and young men to get out and show what they’ve practiced so hard for,” said Debra Schroeder, the event’s organizer. “They’ve put a lot of hard work and a lot of hours into perfecting their routines and perfecting their skills of using the flags and batons.”
Each student is a current member of his or her school’s flag corps or dance team, which perform at sporting events and other competitions throughout the year. With football season just underway, Schroeder said the contest was a great way for the students to prepare for these events.
“Usually they’re just with the bands, but this gives them a chance to get more prepared for their season, which is just starting,” she said.
The competition was divided into 11 categories — class A and class B feature flags, class A and class B majorette line, open rifle team, class A and class B feature twirler, class A and class B flag corps, open dance twirl, and open dance team. The top two teams or individuals in each category earned trophies, though not every contest featured more than one competitor.
The winners included:
•Class B feature flags: Spencerville High School, first place; Allen East High School, second place.
•Class A feature flags: Wapakoneta High School, first place; Bath High School, second place.
•Class B majorette line: Lima Central Catholic High School, first place.
•Class A majorette line: Bath HS, first place.
•Open rifle team: Allen East HS, first place; Delphos Jefferson High School, second place.
•Class B feature twirler: Natalie Moeller (Allen East HS), first place; Olivia Garlock (LCC), second place.
•Class A feature twirler: Katelyn Rable (Bath HS), first place; Hollis Erickson (Bath HS), second place.
•Class B flag corp: Spencerville HS, first place; Allen East HS, second place.
•Class A flag corp: Wapakoneta HS, first place; Bath HS, second place.
•Open dance twirl: Bath HS, first place; LCC, second place.
•Open dance team: LCC, first place; Perry High School, second place.
As the Baton & Flag Corps Competition rolled on, the third annual Equine Country Club Bud Lauck Memorial Retro Horse Show began. The event featured dozens of young people performing various competitions while on horseback.
“It’s none of the modern-day stuff, which is why we call it ‘retro,’” said the show’s organizer, Teresa Griffith.
Some of the more unique contests at the show were a boot race, where competitors had to dig out their boots before getting on their horse and riding back to the starting point, and a pickle race, where riders picked up a large pickle with their teeth, returned to their horse and raced back without dropping or breaking it.
Griffith said the event was designed around games cowboys used to play on their horses in decades past. The only difference in the modern-day contest is the events are not as dangerous as the ones cowboys used to engage in.
Although trophies were handed out to the winners, Griffith said the event was mainly for the players’ enjoyment, and that it was not meant as a cutthroat competition.
“Some of the classes can get a little cutthroat, but really it’s just for fun,” she said. “It’s a good way to end the fair.”
Other competitive events during the fair’s finale were KOI Drag Racing and the Kewpee Classic Open Prospect Steer & Heifer Show.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.