Big week goes smoothly for fair

Robert Blackford/Editor

The Mercer County Fair was held last week for the 161st time since 1853. The event was a celebration of agriculture in the community.


At the 4-H junior steer show Brea Simkins showed the grand champion steer (Crossbred) while A.J. Line showed the grand champion heifer (Angus).

Simkins' Crossbred was also named the grand champion steer at the market beef show.

Cole Thomas showed the champion heifer at the open beef show.

Jill Dunn showed the grand champion female at the dairy show.


Fourteen year old Nicole Mitchell with her five year old Papillion "Jazmine" won the grand obedience dog award at the junior dog show.

Erin Hayes, 17 and her dog "Oran" won the graduate novice award at the 4-H dog show. Hayes also won the award for senior showmanship.


Nineteen year old Jasmine Padilla of Monmouth showed the grand champion barrow and the grand champion gilt at the junior swine show. Tyler Freyermuth showed the grand champion pair of barrows.

At the open swine show Jacob Dobbels of Cambridge showed the champion market gilt as well as the champion barrow.


At the junior sheep show Kyle Moshier showed the supreme ram overall (dorset) as well as the supreme ewe (dorset).

At the open cheep show Trevor Torrance of Good Hope showed the supreme champion ewe (Hampshire) and the supreme champion ram (Hampshire).

At the open market lamb show Adam Dynes of Kewanee showed the grand champion and the grand champion pair of market lambs.

Master showmanship

Bernard Ausmus won the contest for master showmanship and will represent the county at the Illinois State Fair. Trace Titus won the award for top junior showmanship.


At the junior rabbit show Justin Guthrie showed the grand champion meat pen. At the 4-H show Taylor Guthrie showed the grand champion meat pen.

Pumpkin Hall

Lori Whitney reigned in Pumpkin Hall once again sweeping the two best of show categories for floral arrangements and vegetables. Whitney is a long time participant in the events at floral and Pumpkin Hall. Her vegetable basket won best of show featuring several vegetables. In floriculture Whitney arranged flowers in a toaster for the top prize.

Floral Hall

Lori's mother Linda Whitney took top prize in canning with a collection of several jellies including grape, red raspberry, black raspberry and rhubarb.

Shawn Gilmour of Keithsburg won best of show in art with her pencil drawing featuring a elderly man with his tractor and a cat in the background. Gilmour had last picked up a pencil and entered a drawing in the fair in 1985. She won best of show that year as well. During the years in between wins she raised her four children.

BreeAnna Woods of Reynolds won the top prize in photography with a photo of her niece and nephew. "I was going for an old fashioned vintage look," said Woods. Woods won best of show two years ago for her decorated cake in the culinary exhibit.

Eleven year old Kaylea Roessler-Elliott of Taylor Ridge took top prize in the junior category with her collection of angels.

Ninety-seven year old June French won first place in the antiques category with her 1915 walking doll from Germany. French remembers receiving the doll as a child in 1917.

Matt DeShane won best of show in the hobbies category with a cane he carved out of a limb for his daughter Carly for their mushroom hunts together. This is the fifth time DeShane has won a best of show in the last 20 years.

Annette Doonan of Viola won best of show in culinary arts with her loaf of yeast bread.

Katherine Bredberg of Aledo won best of show in textile for her quilt Bredberg said quilter Janice McCutchan did a lot of the quilt work on it.

Thirteen year old Karie Sanders of Viola, won first prize in the P1 department for her wreath.

Draft Horse Pull

Jeff Kruger of La Farge, Wisc won the Draft Horse Pull over nine other competitors.

Talent Show

Sydney Stirn of Aledo won the junior division of the talent show while Jenna Rillie of Aledo won the senior division.