Plenty to cheer at county fair
by Samantha Langley Staff writer
LUMBERTON — Fair-goers have three more days — including one more of gray skies — to enjoy the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair before it ends on Saturday.
After a washout on Tuesday, fair-goers returned to the fairgrounds on Wednesday to enjoy all the sights and sounds, including the cheer-leading competition.
Rudy Paul, one of the fair’s board members, said about 2,000 people watched about 260 cheerleaders from Robeson and surrounding counties perform. Paul said this is the first year that the teams were awarded trophies for first and second place. Next year he hopes the fair will be able to award monetary prizes.
“If we give money, then it will help teams do a lot of things that they want to do throughout the year,” Paul said.
During the competition, the middle school, junior varsity and varsity squads performed a series of cheers and dances.
Amanda Owens, a 25-year cheer-leading veteran, said the squads were judged on the technical aspects of their stunts and on the creativity and difficulty of the routine. Points were taken off for safety issues.
In the varsity division, Lumberton High School came in first and Fairmont High School in second. In the junior varsity division, Lumberton High came in first and Purnell Swett came in second.
In the middle school division, Fairmont Middle School came in first and Pembroke Middle School came in second.
Squads’ performances included stunts, tumbling and cheer-leading moves. Most of the dances were done to mixes of modern dance music or songs highlighting the squad’s school name or colors.
“These girls are motivated, I mean motivated,” said Lynn Hinson, one of Lumberton High’s two varsity cheer-leading coaches. “They train starting in June and they train approximately eight hours a week. They also do outside training at tumble gyms outside of practice to learn the stunts.”
Hinson said cheer-leading is a year-round sport and the squad only gets one month off from practicing per year. She said this is the team’s sixth year winning the county fair competition.
“They just all love it,” Hinson said. “All of them have been cheering since they were little.”
After the competition, the girls ran around hugging each other and taking pictures.
“We just love getting to be a team and a family,” said Chyna Scott, a Lumberton High co-captain.
The fifth- and sixth-grade cheer-leading competitios scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled because of the rain.
According to the National Weather Service, skies will stay dark with a 20 percent chance of rain today. The sun will creep out through partly cloudy skies on Friday and Saturday with high temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s.
Today’s fair events include the FFA Truck and Tractor Driving Contest at 4 p.m. and the Kayser Roth Best Legs Contest at 8 p.m. For information or to buy tickets, go to www.robesoncountyfair.com.
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