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Intrepid youth, 18 and under, from Las Cruces and White Sands came together Sept. 28 to show off their skills in the Youth Agriculture and Floriculture Competition, under the direction of Superintendent Zach Libbin.
Normally taking place with multiple other adult and youth competitions during the Southern New Mexico State Fair, this year, due to COVID-19, this was the only competition held for the general public from the Veteran’s Building, where competitions in all crafts are open to all southern New Mexico residents.
“The Fair Board, under President Gary Lindsey, takes its commitment to youth very seriously, as well as the safety of the public,” said Head Superintendent Sharon Sevachko. “Because of the governor’s restrictions, no fair could take place. However, the board recognized that many youths began projects following the previous fair. Most of these crafts would last until 2021, but garden produce and flowers will get eaten or will wilt and die. Accordingly, the board agreed to allow this competition, but only under strict safety guidelines.”
Fair Manager Travis Brown set up the health guidelines, and social media chair Shelby Montano advertised the event.
Winner of the Best of Show for Youth Agriculture was Andie Grooms with a Scarecrow, composed of two pumpkins. Second Best of Show went to Steffy Grooms, with a two-pumpkin football player.
Best of Show in Floriculture went to Demetryous Griffith with a spidery container plant featuring four different succulents, grown from cuttings. Second Best of Show went to Gwynavere Griffith with a Christmas centerpiece featuring an elf surrounded by dried flowers. Other money winners were Jordan Schumer, Austin Roberson, Emery Simpson and Tucker Simpson.
Those who placed third or better were awarded Peter Piper Pizza kid’s meal coupons from Manager Daniel Olivares. Those included were Kasen Montano, Seth Montano, Isabella Roberson, Izabel Valles, Vaneska Lujan, Stefan Fountain, Marina Fountain, Isaiah Valles, Ella Dixon, Owen Carter, Liam Tolbert, Alexa Greene, Isabel Valles, Alexander McCracken, Zarina Arrey, William Miller, Gemma Camera, Bentley Saunders, Caroline Painter, Brendan Griffith, Sophia Valles, Kimber Lockridge, Sunshine Conway-Brown, Hunter Greene, Aubrie Tolbert, Jaime Gallegos, Isabella McCracken, Bailey Carter, Kailee Arrey, Suzanna Painter and Manny Cadena.
Lunch for the volunteers working the competition was provided by Nik Sevachko of Papa John’s Pizza. The VFW 6917, which is normally the sponsor of the Schools’ Exhibit at the Fair, allowed use of their venue for the judging of the one-day event.