Columbia - Ethan Beck pitched a 42-pound cotton bale over an almost 12 foot tall fence Sunday night, winning the Missouri State Fair’s Super Teen contest.
“That’s everyday stuff,” said Beck, an 18 year old from Chillicothe after winning the blue ribbon in the event’s bale toss.
Super Teen is a recent offshoot of the Super Farmer competition. Teens who are participating in other competitions at the fair — from the cookie contest to a steer competition — can enter the contest.
Super Teen was the brainchild of Gaylen Potter, a Chillicothe farmer who has organized the Super Farmer competition for the past 16 years.
“When I’m sitting out there crossing back and forth on the combine, I’m thinking,” he said.
Events at the contest, described as the farm Olympics, included a hay toss, cow milking for girls, and a cow chip toss for guys. More than 1500 spectators, Potter said, gathered in the fair’s air-conditioned Mathewson Exhibition Center to cool down and watch their kids, neighbors and friends compete.
After Beck’s definitive win, his team stood well-placed to win the competition. It was up to the rest of the members — Hannah Rugen, 14, of Tipton; Kelsey Cox, 14 of Odessa; Lance Williams, 16, of Chillicothe — to do their parts.
With a flick of the wrist, Williams, last year’s cow chip toss champ, launched his plastic cow chip accurately enough to take second place. Rugen and Cox also placed well in their individual events. But mediocre results in the post digging and wheel-barrow loading pairs events left the team depending heavily on its performance in the relay for a chance to win the champion or reserve champion awards.
The relay, described by Potter as “the granddaddy of them all,” is a barrage of possible farm activities and a definite crowd pleaser.
Cox, chosen to shimmy through a narrow tunnel in the relay because she’s small, made great time when Beck picked up one end of the tube and sent her flying through.
The team slowed a little on the land skis but their worst problem was scaling the slippery plastic on the hay roll. In the end, the team wound up placing fifth.
Potter said he plans on running the contest again next year.
“Kids a lot of the time come together,” he said. “They don’t know who their teammates are going to be, and they make new friends.”
Everyone on Beck’s team said they planned to compete again next year, and they might reunite one last time in search of victory.