Colton Hill, 18, became the youngest contestant towin the overall grand champion award for barbecue on Sunday at the North TexasFair and Rodeo. Hill beat about nine teams and individuals for the win.
As his name was called, members of his team cheeredloudly and other competitors in the barbecue cook-off also cheered andcongratulated the Krum resident.
Marion Arnold, a longtime volunteer of the fair,said she was surprised that Hill and his team nabbed the grand championtitle.
“He did a really good job,” she said. “But he beatout some pretty good longtime veterans. That’s a big accomplishment and a verybig deal.”
As he received his awards, Hill danced and smiledas his team, the Redneck Deer Camp, took pictures. He told the crowd that hewas excited about his win, but his accomplishment left him giddy andspeechless.
His awards included a cash prize and custom-madeMontana Silversmith spurs.
“Wow,” was the only thing Hill said as he receivedhis award — that and, “I’m not going to sing,” after his teammates tried toencourage him to do so.
Arnold said in her 36 years of volunteering at thefair, this year has been one of the best. Officials have handed out more than$5,000 in cash prizes to participants.
She said the barbecue competition gets progressivelybetter and better each year.
“It’s a privilege to compete because you have toqualify in the Summer Showdown in June,” Arnold said.
More than 60 teams participated in June in hopes ofqualifying for the fair. But only 10 groups can move on, Arnold said. She alsosaid it’s competitive, and sometimes people don’t like the outcome, but in theend, everyone has a good time.
“We’re a family,” she said. “They’re all like mychildren, and we get along like a family.”
Officials say the cooler-than-average weather hasresulted in record-breaking attendance numbers for the fair thus far. More than18,000 people attended the fair on opening night Friday.
Glenn Carlton, executive director of the fair, saidevery year has its challenges, but this year he’s already noticing a decreasein the number of problems at the fair.
“When you have 36,000 people gathering in one placeover the course of a few days, you look for things to happen,” he said. “Buteverything is running very smooth. I think it’s a good sign for what’s tocome.”
The fair continues today and gates open at 6 p.m.Events include an open beef cattle show, a tractor pull, the Little Miss Juniorand Junior Miss North Texas Fair pageants, the Ranch Rodeo and an acoustic setwith Brian Burns, Brian Houser and Sonny Burgess on the Bud Light Stage.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 andvia Twitter at @JDHarden.