County Fairs, The Youth, and Those Incredible Volunteers


Almost a week ago at the George H Henderson Expo Center, hundreds of youth and volunteers wrapped up the Angelina County Fair.  You’ve read about the top winners in each division, the “Reach for The Stars Show” for kids with special needs, and the generous support of the buyers at the auction in addition to the groups that have awarded scholarships to outstanding graduating seniors.   

Yet as the barns are now empty, and the ribbons, buckles, and banners have been put on display at home, we would be remiss not to say a special thank you to all the volunteers who make each year’s show a success.

Volunteers are truly the heroes behind the scenes who make our Angelina County Fair successful. 

The first contests of the Fair started on Monday. Those were forestry, archery, shotgun, public speaking, shotgun, and ag mechanics. The public speaking event was led by Jennifer Reynolds and Bo David Williford. Kevin Martin is the superintendent of the Ag Mechanics show.  A local businessman, he finds judges to evaluate the wood and metal construction and refurbishing efforts done by teams of students.

New this year were two shooting sports competitions: archery and shotgun. Heather McCall chaired the shotgun competition that was held at the Pines Sporting Clays. The archery competition was moved to the Pines gun club and was led by Christi Grandgeorge and Ryan Merrel.

The Home Economics Division is such a large effort that Janna Brazil and Joel Redus are needed to lead this event. Additionally, there were over 30 judges required for all the organization and judging.  Yes, the judges do get to partake in some of the best cakes, pies, cheesecakes, breads, and cookies around, but they also must test and quiz the students about the ingredients, preparation, and nutritional value. 

A new competition to the county fair this year was a floral design competition. Ashlyn Childress, an ag-science instructor at Hudson High led this successful event in its inaugural year. Carrie Shockley is the Arts and Crafts superintendent and oversees the numerous volunteers and judges that help check in and evaluate the projects.

Superintendents for the livestock show divisions include – Delbert Reynolds (Beef Heifers), Andy Gardner (broilers), Anna Lamb (commercial heifers and the foal futurity), Mike Whiteman (meat goats), Stephen Shockley (market lambs), BoDavid Williford (market steers), Melanie Murry (rabbits), and George Wing (market hogs). Each of these men and women also have several folks who help with validation, check-in, opening gates and several other tasks for each show.

Of special note is that George Wing retired this year as they hog show superintendent. Over the years, Wing has been superintendent of the broiler show for three years, the foal futurity for two years and then the market hog show for an incredible 13 years!

There are “open events” where you don’t have to be a 4-H or FFA member in Angelina County to participate. These include the ‘Buckle-Bash’ heifer show, a BBQ cook-off, the washer tournament, and the ‘Reach for the Stars’ special needs show. For those competitions, the respective superintendents are BoDavid Williford, Charlie Gumbles, Melissa Wheeler, and Karen Stafford. 

Anita Carraway oversees the Youth Ambassador program. If you watched any part of the Fair, you saw youth in blue vests helping. This youth volunteer program strives to provide high school aged youth fair participants the opportunity to develop and practice advanced leadership skills and become an advocate for their county fair division. Applications are due in mid-September and those selected are responsible for workshops leading up the Fair, helping during their assigned division, as well as generally helping whenever they may be needed. 

The Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce has numerous volunteers that give of their time for the Fair.  The County Fair Board consists of Steve Milligan, Codie Jenkins, Justin Risner, Scott Slusher, Stephen Corley, Chad Murray, Chris Carraway, Anita Carraway, Greg Modisette, Scott Slusher, Ashlyn Cole, Pat Penn, and Preston Loggins. The Fair Board chairman is Todd Kassaw.

Kody Jenkins is the Executive Director for our Fair. She does a phenomenal job year-round to ensure a successful event for exhibitors and families alike.

Finally, donors to the auction help reward the youth on Saturday evening.  Brookshire Brothers is our presenting sponsor for the Fair. There are numerous, fantastic businesses and families that support the auction, and I also want to personally thank those of you who donated any amount to one of the buyer pools. 

If you want to join the auction virtually, donate to the auction, or check out pictures of this year’s winners, go to

Cary Sims
Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.

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