pie eating

Genevieve Rosenhyslop, 6, of Glenwood, licks the pie from her lips during the pie-eating contest Sunday, Aug. 5. (Staff photo by Brian Krista / August 6, 2012)

Andrew Wilmeth of Woodbine, though only 14, accomplished a great feat at the Howard County Fair Sunday, Aug. 5, one that can be compared, in its own way, with those of the very best Olympic athletes.

He won the non-adult division of the annual pie-eating contest for the third consecutive year, earning a third gold (or at least gold-colored) medal in the event.

Andrew powered through his age division, 13-17, and made it to the ultimate eat-off, where winners from the five-eight, nine-12, 13-17 and 18-and-up divisions all competed together.

Each contestant is presented with a personal 4-ounce pie, which he or she is expected to devour at lightning speed — without using his or her hands, let alone a fork. The first to do so raises his arms in the air, lets a judge check their mouth for remaining pie and either celebrates victory or accepts defeat.

"It's about getting as much [pie] as you can in your mouth and then swallowing it at the end," said Wilmeth, who beat out older contestants with his speed and dexterity in pie-eating.

When asked if he practices for this gauntlet of eating two pies within 10 minutes as fast as he can (he ate one pie during a preliminary round, a second a few minutes later in the finals), Andrew replied, "Not really, I just can do it naturally."

The pie-eating contest is Andrew's favorite part of the Howard County Fair, which opened Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Howard County Fairgrounds, in West Friendship.

But it is only one of the fair's many attractions, which include typical fair favorites such as amusement rides, addictive games and fairground treats, as well as some less ordinary events. Among the latter: the Mule Pulling Contest and the Coon Mule Jump.

Monday will rattle spectators with the Fifth Annual Skid Loader Rodeo and Wednesday will feature the Miniature Horse Show, where a posse of pint-sized ponies will promenade around the horse rings currying favor with judges. A multitude of 4-H livestock competitions will be held throughout the week as well.

The fair will continue until Aug. 11.