Parker wins 2022 Celebrity Tomato-Eating Contest | News

The 38th Tomato Fest, occurring Saturday, drew crowds of people to downtown Jacksonville. The festival included numerous information booths, vendors, food trucks, contests and shows. There was, of course, a farmer’s market full of red, ripe, delicious fruit, without which no tomato fest would be complete.

The celebrity tomato-eating contest appeared to be the favorite of many. Ten contestants were given customized bibs with the words “Tomato Eating Contestant, presented by Ebby Halliday, 38th Annual Jacksonville, Texas Tomato Fest” embroidered on them. Each was also given five tomatoes and a three-minute time limit to eat as many as possible.

Kathleen Stanfill competed in her own fashion, bringing salt and pepper, dressing and utensils. She was able to very tidily consume half a tomato during the three-minute contest. Cherokee County Sheriff Brent Dickson participated, or was at least present. Not caring for tomatoes, Dickson allowed his children to provide an assist with getting rid of his tomatoes.

County Commissioner Kelly Traylor, the winner of the 2021 contest, competed in an effort to defend his title, but narrowly lost to Troy Parker. Parker, who has won a couple of times before, can now add 2022 Tomato-Eating Champion to his list of accolades.

“It’s not easy, but it’s fun,” Parker said of winning yet again.

When queried as to whether he had any sort of strategy, he replied, “Try not to choke.”

Winners in the homegrown tomato contests included:

• Most Unusual – Emily Moeron

• Best Tasting – Chris Davis

• Commercial, Biggest – Johnathon Guinn

• Commercial, Best Plate of 3 – Jenkins Farm

• Individual, Biggest – Chris Davis

• Individual, Best Plate of 3 – Elizabeth Currie

• Individual – Best Plate of 3, Heirloom – Chris Davis

• People’s Choice – Patti Perron

The Salsa Contest champions were:

• Mildly Mannered – Dana Davenport, Jacksonville

• Magnificently Medium – Dana Davenport, Jacksonville

• Hallelujah Hot – Carl Finch, Jacksonville0

The junior division salsa winners were:

• Mildly Mannered – Khelynn Davenport, Jacksonville

• Magnificently Medium – Katelyn Smith, Arlington

• Hallelujah Hot – Kiera Veitch, Jacksonville

At the Youth Talent Show, five-year-old Skylar Thompson was awarded first place after singing, “This Girl is on Fire” by Alicia Keys. Second place went to Rex Parker for his performance on the keyboard and third to Christy Hightower, who powered through despite technical difficulties.

A motorcycle show, organized by the Cherokee Family Motorcycle Club, awarded first and second place in four categories, along with the Mayor’s Select. The categories and winners for the 2022 Tomato Fest Motorcycle Show were:

• 1st place Antique-Tim Coan

• 2nd place Antique- Clay Suggs

• 1st place Cruiser – Rex Martin

• 2nd place Cruiser- Jonathan Gordon

• 1st place Bagger- Jonathan Dodd

• 2nd place Bagger- Shane Wright

• 1st place Custom-Jonathan Dodd

• 2nd place Custom-Magnum

• Mayors Select- Jonathan Gordon

The annual car show drew 72 entries with proceeds benefiting the Adopt-A-School program of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. The show was produced by Carressa Simmons with the assistance of Simmons Insurance out of Tyler and Bacon Auto Country. Jacksonville and Rusk High National Honor Society members once again volunteered to help.

The Top Tomato, otherwise known as Best in Show, was awarded to Richard Acord of Henderson for his ’61 BelAir. As winner, Acord earned a free spot in next year’s East Texas Locals Final Showdown in Tyler.

The top five cars selected were (alphabetically):

• ’69 Chevelle – Austin Claiborne, Jacksonville

• ’62 Galaxy – Joseph and Cheryl George, Kirbyville

• ’41 Hollywood – John Graham, Frankston

• ’60 Impala – Robert Nathanson, Flint

• ’55 BelAir – Tony Rollins, Jacksonville

The top five trucks included:

• ’28 Model A – Gary and Kay Currie, Huntington

• ’48 3100 – Walter Hayward, Tyler

• ’29 Model A – Larry McFarland, Bullard

• ’62 C10 – David Magouirk, Whitehouse

• ’66 F100 – Bryan Strahan, Jacksonville

Other award divisions and winners included:

• Farmers Pick: First, ’51 L110, Dennis Hood, Jacksonville; Second, ’73 F350, David Claiborne, Jacksonville

• ‘Mercia !: First, Larry Powell, Flint, ’51 M38 Jeep; Second: Mike Anglin, Rusk, ’49 Sport Coupe

• Low rider: First, Marco Guerrero, Jacksonville, ’61 Biscayne; Second: Kay Brock, Huntington, ’34 pickup

• Specialty / Utility: Scott Brown, Jacksonville, ’48 Dodge

• Jeep: Kyle Karnes, Livingston, ’78 J10

• Granddaddy: Parker Edmondson, Jacksonville, ’28 Durant

• Most Unique: Keith McNemar, Sacul, ’34 Panel

• Chick Magnet: Lisa McClendon, Jacksonville, ’68 Torino

• Best Under Construction: Jade Neely, Jacksonville, ’54 F100

• Crowd Fave: First, Don Garner, Gallatin, ’33 Sedan; Second: Ed Chopin, Louisiana, ’40 Cabriolet

• Participant / Exhibitor Fave: First, Hirlen Brooks, Bullard, ’14 Corvette; Second, Brandy McAnaly, Jacksonville, ’03 Zombie Truck

Organizers of the Car Show listed their sponsors and donors as The Shop, Bacon Auto, Neelys Auto, Simmons Insurance, Apache Auto, Congratulations Awards, B&T Paint, Point of View Realty, Rock Auto, Buddy’s, Allen’s Tire, and numerous local auto retailers .

If you enjoyed the 38 annual Tomato Fest, mark your calendar for next year’s which is already set for Saturday, June 10, 2023.

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