By JON?LANCE News-Telegram Photographer
Tuesday was a fun night full of cows, horses and tractors for the three contestants for the Hopkins County Fall Festival Cover Girl title. The competition officially began with Shelbie Lackey, Miranda Rushin and Morgan Mayers competing in the first four events in the contest. They will be judged by a panel on instructors, some of whom were previous Cover Girls. The contest is one of the many events of the Fall Festival, the Cover Girls are also participate Saturday to the World Champion Hopkins County stew contest at Buford Park, which will start serving starting at 10:45 a.m. Tickets are $5 for the all-you-can-eat event and can be bought in advance at City National Bank, Alliance Bank, Guaranty Bank and Trust and Texas Heritage Bank. More than 150 stew pots are entered in this year’s contest. But, Tuesday, the focus was not on stew but rather the Cover Girls. “This is the 34th year we have had Cover Girl in Hopkins County,” said contest coordinator Tracy Dennis. “So many events have changed over the eight years since I have been here.” On Tuesday evening, a crowd gathered in the horse pavilion of the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center. As the contestants entered the arena for the first time, three dairy cows were brought out for the event. The were told to pick a cow for the milking contest and were allowed 60 seconds to practice their art of milking before the timekeeper told them they had a two minute time trial. Buckets in hand, the girls filled them up as much as they could in the time allotted. The ruled states that if the cow kicked the bucket or the bucket was dropped, there are no second chances. Next, a horse was brought out into the arena. The girls were expected to saddle the horse as fast as possible then mount the animal. The time would be stopped when the contestant raised her hands straight up in the air once mounted. The judges were then called in to see how well the contestant strapped the saddle to the horse. In the calf scramble, three cows with duct tape on their backs were released in the arena. Judges lined the girls up on a starting line. When the judge yelled go, the girls tried to corner the cows and retrieve the tape off their backs. For the final event of the evening, the contestants had to drive a tractor forward and backward through an obstacle course. The course was marked with tall poles the girls had to avoid as they weaved through the course. On Thursday at 6 p.m., the competition will continue with three more events at the horse pavilion. The contestants will cut up a chicken, stack hay and sew. “The one event that everyone loves is cutting up the chicken,” said Dennis. Hay stacking in a new event this year, she explained. Contestants will move four square bales of hale 20 feet and stack them in a specific pattern in a timed event. The girls are allowed to carry, drag or roll the hay to the finish line. The first place Cover Girl winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship with second place receiving $750. Since only three girls are competing in the contest, Dennis said the girls have great odds this year, unlike previous years when there had been up to 14 contestants. “They have had since July to gather all the stuff for their windows, their float and practice for the competition,” said Dennis.“These girls have been hustling and want it bad. I know they are putting in the work.” The 2014 Cover Girl title will be announced Saturday, Oct. 25, in the Civic Center Arena during the Fall Festival concert. Other events this week at the Fall Festival include: Wednesday, Oct. 22 n The carnival opens on the Civic Center grounds at 6 p.m. Wristbands are available for purchase for $20 in advance through noon Wednesday at Super Handy convenience stores. The cost for all-your-can-ride wristbands will be $25 at the carnival daily. The carnival will run through Sunday. Thursday, Oct. 23 n Cover Girl competition, 6 p.m. at the Equine Pavilion at the Civic Center. n Carnival, 6 p.m. to midnight. n BMX Exhibition, 7 p.m. at the skate park in Buford Park. n Registration for the Creative Arts Contest, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in SSHS Conference Center. Friday, Oct. 24 n Registration for the Creative Arts Contest continues from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in SSHS Conference Center. n BMX Bike show, 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday in front of the Civic Center. n Commercial booths, starting at 9 a.m. at the Civic Center and Sulphur Springs High School. n Kids Zone, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Civic Center Equine Pavilion, with food vendors, bounces house, a petting zoo and other activities. n David Wonders Magic Show, 3 p.m. Friday at Equine Pavilion. n Arts and Crafts Show, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at SSHS. n Carnival, 6 p.m. to midnight. n Cody Johnson Band and Tyler and the Tribe play in concert Friday at the Civic Center. Whiskey Myers and Johnny Cooper will perform a concert Saturday night. Gates open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the show, or get at two-day concert pass for $30, and pay $35 for the VIP tent. Southern Soul, winner of Muddy Jake’s Battle of the Bands, will open for the Friday concert. Saturday, Oct. 25 n Creative Arts Contest, open for public viewing from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Best of Show winners are to report at 1:30 p.m. Saturday for winner pictures. n Sulphur Springs Corvette Club’s Corvette Show, Heritage Plaza from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Show car registration starts 8 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m. with viewing from 8 a.m. until 2:30 pm. Awards will be presented at 2:30 pm. n Commercial exhibits and the food court opens at 9 a.m. at the Civic Center. n The Legends of Crossroads Western reenactment, 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the Civic Center grounds. n World Champion Hopkins County Stew Contest, serving starts at 10:45 a.m. in Buford Park. Tickets are $5 for all-you-can-eat. Winners will be announced about 12:45 p.m. n Duck Race, 1 p.m. in the creek along the east side of the Civic Center. n Earl W. Martin 42 Tournament, 1 p.m. at the Senior Citizen Center. Cost is $25 per team. n Lone Star BMX Bike Show, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday in front of the Civic Center. n Kids Zone, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Civic Center Equine Pavilion, with food vendors, bounces house, a petting zoo and other activities. n David Wonders Magic Show, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at Equine Pavilion. n Arts and Crafts Show, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at SSHS. n Dinner Tonight demonstrations, conducted hourly starting at 10 a.m. through 2 p.m., with the drawing for the Kitchen Aid mixer scheduled at 3 p.m., in foyer to the Civic Center Auditorium. n Carnival, 6 p.m. to midnight. n Whiskey Myers and Johnny Cooper will perform a concert Saturday night. Gates open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the show. The new 2014-15 Cover Girl will be announced during Saturday night’s concert. Sunday, Oct. 26 n Tejano Day activities, noon to 6 p.m. on Civic Center grounds will feature food, music and the carnival.