Tuesday's opening day of the Wood County Fair culminated with the crowning of a pair of Otsego High School graduates as Junior Fair queen and king.
Kara Dickey and Thomas Spoerl collected the winners' royal-blue sashes after competing in a field that included 38 other candidates.
"All the things that we've been a part of have come together here," said Dickey, representing Green Meadows 4-H, after being crowned.
Spoerl, who competed on behalf of Otsego FFA, said after finishing as third runner-up in 2008, "it's good to finish on top."
He added that he has always looked forward to competing for king. CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTO GALLERY
First runners-up were Emily Bockbrader, with Duke's Mixture 4-H, and James Morlock, with Livestock Unlimited 4-H; second runners-up were Marissa Dauer, representing the Bowling Green FFA chapter, and Lewis Stearns, with Elmwood FFA; and third runners-up were Jessica Swihart, representing the 4-H Leadership Board, and Tyler Burg, with Green Meadows 4-H. CLICK HERE TO WATCH FAIR VIDEOS
Competitors were judged on their resume, including leadership accomplishments and community service; and an interview by independent judges selected from outside the county. The resume and interview each counted as 50 points toward the competitor's total score.
Judges sealed their rankings in envelopes so that not even fair board members knew the results prior to Tuesday's announcements.
Spoerl recalled one of the questions asked of him was where he would take first-time fair visitors. A member of the Junior Fair Board, his response was the "championship barn" because "they work hard and deserve the recognition."
The king is the son of Doug and Jane Spoerl, of Weston. He plans to attend Owens Community College this fall to pursue a degree in business. He also plans to farm with his father.
Doug Spoerl admitted the anticipation "was killing me" as he sat in the grandstand. With all runners-up announced and only one name left, he knew it was "do or die time" for his son.
The senior Spoerl knows what that anticipation is like. In 1976, he was named first runner-up in the competition, behind Dan Frobose who was crowned king.
"They'll represent Wood County well," added Jane Spoerl.
Dickey, who was first runner-up at the 2008 Junior Fair Parade, plans to attend the University of Dayton as a pre-med major and a cadet in the Air Force ROTC.
Her parents, Kurt and Collette, were nearby to celebrate with the new queen.
"She loves to be involved in things," said Collette Dickey. "She has always been one to set the goal very high for herself."
The winners took a moment to describe what qualities earned them the 2009 titles.
"Tom is very outgoing. Being able to talk to anybody is a really good quality to put you up here" with the winners, said Dickey.
In return, Spoerl pointed out Dickey's success in many different activities. "She strives for the best and I think that shows tonight," he said. "You can do a lot of things, but you have to do them right."
Both also thanked their friends and family for all the support they have received.
Dickey and Spoerl will reign until the crowning ceremony at the 2010 fair.
The duo was able to celebrate their achievements Tuesday night, but today it was back to taking care of sheep entries for Dickey and Junior Fair Board duties for Spoerl.
The parade, which wrapped up shortly after 8:30 p.m., had 57 units this year, including 11 float entries representing area 4-H clubs.
First place among 4-H floats went to Black Swamp Outlaws; taking second through fourth places were Beaver Creek Boosters, Gold Medal 4-H and Lake Harvesters, respectively.
Otsego FFA took first place in its class, followed by the Bowling Green and Penta FFA chapters, in second and third places respectively.
Front page caption: Queen Kara Dickey and King Thomas Spoerl. (Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)