COLUMBIA — More than 350 people showed up for the Boone County Fair's annual ham breakfast Saturday morning.
The crowds showed up by 7 a.m. to eat a hearty ham breakfast and participate in the ham auction that followed. The ham breakfast has been a tradition for more than 60 years.
Former Gov. Roger Wilson hosted the event for the 19th year in a row. He greeted people over the microphone as they stood in line waiting for breakfast. Wilson introduced the fair's royalty and those who helped put together the fair.
During the breakfast, candidates for political office worked the room. Candidates often come to this event to show support for the fair, to talk to voters and buy hams, said Eli Tinker-Fortel, a member of Missouri House candidate John Wright's campaign staff.
But 10-year-old Audrey Brush was the real star of the day. Audrey had cured the grand champion ham, and she and her father sat at Wilson's table surrounded by fair officials and the fair royalty.
When the auction got underway, her prize-winning ham sold for $1,000.
This was Audrey's first time entering the annual competition. However, her parents, Dan and Nancy Brush, have been participating in the Boone County Fair for about eight years in breads, theater arts and international foods.
The secret to Audrey's ham was that it was cured in salt and then smoked. She didn't expect to win.
"I was really surprised and happy," she said.
Wilson had Audrey stand on a chair, so the audience could see her as her ham was being auctioned off.
"I just wanted you to see Audrey, that's all," Wilson said.
Audrey knows exactly how she's going to use the money: on her future. She said that she's going to split her money in half, saving some for college and saving the other half for a car.
But her eyes lit up when her father offered another suggestion.
"Maybe you could use your money toward buying a horse," Dan Brush said.
Her mother was quick to counter this suggestion.
"Don't give her any ideas," she said with a laugh.