Something to crow about: Cornhole tournament, rooster crowing make debut at county fair

The 155th Annual Platte County Fair was held at the fairgrounds in Tracy, Mo., Wednesday through Saturday, July 18-21. Adding to the family fun this year was the return of many traditional county fair events, but with the addition of two new events designed to keep an old favorite a bit modern at the same time.

A rooster crowing contest and a cornhole tournament were held on Saturday, giving the oldest continuously operating fair west of the Mississippi River a bit of a modern twist with some old-school fun.

 CYNTHIA CLARK/Special to the Citizen Mark Isley, far left, helped run the first-ever Platte County Fair Cornhole Tournament and competed in the event as well on Saturday, July 21, in the Platte Purchase Building in Tracy, Mo.

CYNTHIA CLARK/Special to the Citizen
Mark Isley, far left, helped run the first-ever Platte County Fair Cornhole Tournament and competed in the event as well on Saturday, July 21, in the Platte Purchase Building in Tracy, Mo.

The cornhole tournament was the brain child of local businessman Brandon Edlin.

“Cornhole is the new thing, you’re seeing it everywhere,” he said. “It allows for the fair to stay relevant, while we have the traditional county fair events, all ages get to have fun.”

According to Edlin, they set a goal to have at least 25 teams take part, while the ultimate goal of 50 teams entered in the tournament, filling all of the open slots.

Mark Isley, owner of KC Cornhole, agreed.

“This is a great vehicle to promote the sport,” he said.

Isley, has owned KC Cornhole since 2005 and has seen the sport go from a way to have fun while tailgating into a very popular sport.

“It’s grown a lot in 12 years, especially here in the Kansas City area,” Isley said. “I would say at least 90 percent of the best players in Missouri are here today and 95 percent of the best players in the Kansas City area are here.”

The event even brought some players from the other side of the border. Justin Greene, from Shawnee, Kan., came to Tracy for the festivities.

“It was fun to leave the little pond and enjoy the game with everyone here,” he said. “It’s been fun.”

While the bags were flying at the Platte Purchase Building, there was a lot to fuss up the hill. After the 4-H small animals of Platte County were judged, it was time for the animals to have a little old-school fun of their own.

The “Chick Norris Memorial Rooster Crowing Contest” featured some of the most famous roosters in Platte County. Donna Taylor, another local business owner, and her husband Aaron thought it would be a great idea to have some fun to wrap up the small animal showmanship contest, as well as honor their beloved champion rooster, Chick Norris, who passed away after winning the 2017 Missouri State Fair crown.

“We liked the idea of a good bit of fun to end the entire show,” Taylor said. In a rooster crowing contest, the numbers of complete crows from each rooster are counted for a specific amount of time. For the inaugural event here in Platte County, it was which rooster crowed the most in thirty minutes.

Taylor explained the contestants are allowed to do anything but touch the birds to get them to crow.

“Once one rooster starts to crow, the rest of them join the party … they like to show off,” she said.

Some of the human counterparts of the contest were excited to do a little showing off too. One of these was Addison Zoubek of St. Joseph, Mo. “My rooster, George, has the funniest crow. I can’t wait for everyone to hear him.”

The winner of the inaugural contest was Cock-a-Doodle Blue, who belonged to Paul Mast of Kansas City, Mo. To get his winner to crow he had a paper rooster on a stick and waved it back and forth in front of Blue’s cage. Cock-a-Doodle Blue, and his human Paul, are also headed to the Missouri State Fair to represent Platte County, in the Old English Blue Bantam category. For winning the contest at the fair, Blue and Paul went home with a trophy, the money raised from the entry fees and bragging rights.

While one event gave a modern twist to the Platte County Fair, and the other gave a fun event with its feet steeped in rural fashion … there was fun to be had all around the historic grounds.