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Cousins take top spots in fair-food-eating contest

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ANN MARIE AMES
July 29, 2011
— Jerry Delabarre grabbed hold of his impressive belly and gave it a good shake.

“It must be in your genes!” he said to his son, Mitchel, after the 14-year-old won the boys division of the fair food-eating contest Thursday afternoon at the Rock County 4-H Fair.


In many 4-H competitions, families tend to stick together. The eating contest was no different. Minutes after Delabarre’s victory, his 15-year-old cousin, Dana Cousin, won the girls division.


Yes, her last name is really Cousin. She was one of three girl Cousins competing against seven other women and girls. That brought the total number of cousins in the two divisions to four.


In each division, contestants had 15 minutes to eat about two plates and two cups full of fair goodies. The challenge included pickles, vanilla shakes, egg rolls and a sub sandwich.


A pile of mini doughnuts topped a small mountain of popcorn like a very dry sundae.


The two small vanilla milkshakes seemed to cause the most trouble for contestants. They came fresh from the Rock County Farm Bureau tent, but after 20 minutes in Thursday’s heat, they looked to be less than refreshing.


Delabarre was not daunted by the platefuls of food.


“I’m still hungry,” he said, grinning.


Delabarre is a member of the Newark Pioneers 4-H club and shows dairy and swine. He also is in the shooting sports and woodworking projects.


Cousin lives in Machesney Park, Ill., and attends Harlem High School. She is a member of Avon 4-H.


Thursday’s competition was Delabarre’s first, but it was old hat to Cousin, who has won the creampuff eating contest for the last three years.


Her secret? She eats the bottom of the cream puff first.


“That’s the hardest part,” Cousin said.


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It’s likely to be the biggest decision you have to make this week: What should I eat when I get to the fair? To help, here’s a small sample of the food you’ll find there this weekend. Happy planning.


-- Want a treat for cheap? Soft-serve cones are popular among 4-H and FFA exhibitors. Get them from The Rock County Dairy Parlor or the Rock County Farm Bureau tent for $1. The dairy trailer also sells cheese curds and string cheese. From those two vendors, I got a cheeseburger, a 20-ounce soda and a strawberry shake for $8.


-- Cash or heartburn not a problem? Gyro sandwiches cost $8 to $10. One summer, a Gazette intern ate a gyro every day of fair week. I still can’t walk by the trailer without being impressed. A whole pizza is $21.50. Elephant ears or funnel cakes cost $5 to $6, and pork sandwiches cost $5.


-- Can’t do the fair without eclairs or cream puffs? Buy them from Rock County 4-H members for $3.50. Proceeds pay for programming. The booth is located on the south side of the fairgrounds behind the grandstands.


-- After three days of watching, it looks to me like the jumbo corndogs are the most popular fair “entree.” They cost $6 and should be enough to keep any kid happy for 15 minutes or so. At least until his sister spills his soda.


-- Not interested in trying something new? First Lutheran Church is selling everyone’s favorite Italian House gondola sandwiches. They also have brats, BBQ and other sandwiches. Meals come with a drink and chips and run from $2.75 to $5.75.



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