[UPDATE] Lowndes County's 61st Annual Ham & Egg Show

By: Gabrielle Sarann Email
By: Gabrielle Sarann Email

[UPDATE] 2/16 at 5:56 p.m. --

There's a new ham champion in Valdosta.

The Lowndes County Civic Center was packed with people from across Georgia for the 61st Annual Ham & Egg Show Wednesday.

They were eager to taste the state's best cured meat and find out whose hams are the fanciest.

As the top egg and ham winners were announced, they were auctioned off to the highest bidders.

Joquon Battles 19 pounder was named the grand champion of all hams.

"It feels alright when, uh, if you win. If you don't, it'd be okay," said Battles, as he held up his trophy and ribbon.

Battle's prize ham went to top bidder Cass Burch for $475.

The car dealership also landed the best dozen eggs for $230.

Most of the $8,175 raised goes to local producers and farmers in Lowndes County.

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Probing for quality and sniffing every ham for a good country smell is what Glenwood Hill does to choose the best cured meat.

"The skin on the back is firm," said Hill, as he held up a high-grade one. "It's an ideal fancy ham."

A dedicated staff of five people make sure the show goes on every year, even though it's the last one standing in Georgia.

It's good news for this year's 41 contestants.

"This year compared to last year, we have a lot more prettier hams with mahogany colors.," said Calvin Willis, the Lowndes County Extension Agent. He added, [It's] your typical Georgia southern style."

This competition hasn't always been a tradition. It started in 1950 with 150 hams and Gospel music.

Now, 51 hams and 36 dozen eggs make up this year's 61st Annual Ham & Egg Show at the Lowndes County Civic Center.

Not only are the hams carefully inspected, even the eggs face stiff competition.

When the egg's air cell is smaller, it means it's fresher.

Leroy Colson, a three-time grand champion, said, "I just enjoy the animal from the time that he was, you know, young and everything to see him grow up."

Willis has been organizing the event for 11 years and hopes it continues after he retires this year. "This folk way should continue to go on and teach generations to come," he said.

And with 10 hams left to judge at 12:30 p.m., all eyes were on the fanciest rumps.

Keeping people eager to see whose ham steals the show.

The winners of the competition will be announced at the Civic Center Wednesday at 1 p.m..

And that's when the hams will be auctioned, too.

All are welcome.


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