By Scott Halasz firstname.lastname@example.org
August 1, 2014
XENIA — It’s been a typical summer for Brandon Barr.
Hanging out with friends. Winning trophies at the Greene County Fair. Taking a selfie with the governor.
Yes, the 12-year-old Coy Middle School sixth-grader recently snapped a picture with John Kasich when he was recognized for winning Best of Show at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s “Ag is Cool” creative expressions contest.
“It was his idea because we were talking about technology,” Barr said. “He asked if I had ever taken a selfie. He said to grab my dad’s phone and we took a selfie. I was happy because not many people get to do that every day.”
Not too many win Best of Show every day either. But Barr, a budding artist, was the best at illustrating how agriculture is cool — the challenge of the contest. His picture combined the past with the present.
“It’s a satellite remotely controlling the tractors in the field from space,” Barr said. “We have a friend of ours (Kent Oberschlake) who does some farming and he has the GPS system.”
Barr, who has won his age group in two previous years, was confident he could three-peat. But Best in Show?
That was an unexpected bonus.
“I was really excited,” Barr said. “They didn’t say I won Best of Show until I got up there. It was really neat and really cool.”
Barr’s artistic ability traces back to his first year in school. Kindergarten teacher Tammy Horney saw how talented Barr was, but noticed he was lacking one thing.
“She always hammered into him, details make everything better,” Barr’s father, Jeff Barr, said.
The winning picture is quite detailed complete with accurately painted tractors and barns, a silo, clouds, the sun and the satellite beaming instructions down to the equipment.
“We’re super proud of him,” Jeff Barr said. “He’s super artistic.”
Barr has been drawing lots of awards for his pigs at this week’s fair. His barrow was reserve grand champion, division champion and first in its class. He also had a first-place gilt and was first for a duct tape project. He represents Dream Catchers 4-H Club.
The art entries were judged by a panel including representatives from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Governor, the Ohio Expo Center, and professionals in the areas of video production, photography, drawing, painting and other visual arts. Judging was based on the student’s visual representation of the “Ag is Cool!” theme, if it accurately reflects 21st Century agriculture, creativity and use of Ohio images, and quality of work.