Originally created 01/22/06

Cowpokes lasso prizes at festival

A little gray in the sky couldn't keep the little cowpokes away.

In fact, while they played on tractors and rode ponies, the sun peeked out in front of the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center on Saturday for the Wrangler Family Fun Fair, coinciding with the Augusta Futurity.

The festival featured pony rides; balloon animals; pictures taken atop a longhorn, Maverick; clogging performances; and live music from the local band Livingroom Legends.

Patrick and Rebecca Coffee, ages 5 and 3 respectively, from Luthersville, Ga., had a few seconds atop the gentle steer, during which Patrick bounced on the saddle as his picture was taken.

Their mom, Amy, said that though they have a farm and own quarter horses and even a pony for the children, they've never been to a cutting horse event like the Futurity.

"We're enjoying Augusta," she said, just before the family walked off with Rebecca holding a stuffed pony in her tiny hands.

The plaza of the civic center was full of little ones wearing their finest western duds, including 3-year-old Buddy Harbin, of Millen, who was wearing a cowboy hat and pint-sized chaps along with his boots as he played with his toy gun.

"He said if he didn't wear it, no one would know he's a cowboy," said his mom, Gina.

Buddy won third place in a contest at the festival for the best Little Cowboy.

The rest of the contest winners were:

- Girls: first place, Sharon Finef, 7, of Thomson; second place, Alexandria Meyers, 3, of Evans; third place, Samantha Kennedy-Scott, 5, of Martinez.

- Boys: first place, Alan Michael Walden, 3, of North Augusta; second place, Will Reeves, 5, of Martinez; and third place, Buddy Harbin.

Corey Bernard, an Augusta Chronicle graphic designer who helped to coordinate and emceed the festival, said first-place winners won a free pair of jeans.

Second-place winners got a Futurity T-shirt, and third-place winners got a gift basket from the Make Kids Count program of The Augusta Chronicle.

What: First go-round of the 4-Year Futurity Open

Where: Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center

When: Starts at 8 a.m.

Cost: General admission daytime pass is $6 adults, $2 children 12 or younger

For more information: Visit www.augustafuturity.com.

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