Friday, August 28, 2009

Second Place

Last November, when we drove out to Terlingua for the annual Chili Cook-Off, we left home at one o'clock in the morning. After many cups of coffee, and an eleven hour drive, we arrived in Terlingua at noon. We set up camp in the Chili Cook-Off grounds behind the store, and took a nap. Arising around three, we went over to the ghost town to make the scene on the front porch of the Terlingua Store. Many locals and out of towners gather here every afternoon to watch the sun set on the Chisos Mountains in the distance, to drink beer, and to converse. After talking with some folks, and drinking a couple beers, I wandered out through the ghost town on a photo shoot. I spent about forty-five minutes out amongst the ruins taking pictures as the light was turning that to that golden afternoon glow.

I entered this picture from that afternoon, and another from later in the week, in the State Fair Of Texas Creative Arts Competition earlier this month. Ok Hwa entered two photos that she had made at the Dallas Arboretum. Today we got the letters back from the judges with the results of the competition. It broke my heart, but, Ok Hwa did not get a win this year. You have to get a first, second, third, or fourth place to get a ribbon, and have your photo exhibited during the fair. I managed to get a second place in the "Texas Scenery - Landscapes or Waterscapes" category for this image. It is an old wagon, some of the Terlingua Ghost Town ruins, and the Chisos Mountains in the distance. Not my best work, but not bad, either.
In the Creative Arts Competition, there are twenty categories in the Adult Color section, and thus, twenty first place winners, twenty second place winners, and so on. Additionally, there are the Adult Black & White, Junior Color, and Junior Black & White categories. As a result, when you attend the State Fair, and go to the Creative Arts building to look for my winning photo, it may be a bit hard to find among the many on display. Also, the people who run the State Fair have not included any information about categories with the winning photos, so it can be confusing to the casual State Fair attendee why there are so many first place winners, second place winners, and so on. You will, however, see many great photographs, and artwork of all kinds.
So, it's almost time for the great State Fair Of Texas, which runs from September 25 - October 18, 2009. If you're within striking distance of Dallas, come on out and try to find my second place photo, eat a corny dog, ride some rides, see some livestock, spend a day having fun.
For lots more information about the Texas State Fair, follow this link to the official website:
For lots more information about the Historic Terlingua Ghost Town, follow this link to the official website:


  1. Awesome! I'll look for your winner in the creative arts building. I'll try not to get any corny dog mustard on it. :)

  2. Great picture Allen! I hope you post more of your work and some tips on setting up the shot :)

  3. Thanks, Katherine! I'm working on it.

  4. Allen,

    You know I love all of your work. Like I said you have natural talent. Great pic! Sorry to hear about Ok Hwa

    Wish I could go to the State Fair but I guess I'm stuck in NC for awhile. Take care and we love you from NC


  5. Congratulations on winning second place, it is a beautiful picture. Sorry your wive did not place this year, but there is always next year.

    I did not know you guys went to the chili cook off behind the store. I have always attended the CASI event but I am considering a change of venues.

    Last year it was just too rowdy and the police were way too aggresive. Lots of folks camping around me said they were not coming back.

    How do you like the cook-off you attend? Do they allow folks to get there early?

  6. MsBelinda,
    Thanks for your kind words.
    I've never been to the CASI Cook-off, but every story I've ever heard about it echos yours. The behind the store Cook-off is the one to be at. It's very laid back and friendly. You can check in with Delia at the store for early camping. My wife and I always come down a week early and camp behind the store in the chili cook-off grounds. It's no problem. I'll look for you there.

  7. I have been attending the annual chili cook off since 1996 at CASI but either I am getting old or I would just like some quiet and laid back hang out.

    One question though, how do you choose a campground? I would hate to get there early and not know that where I may have set up camp could be an annual spot for an old timer at the event.

    Also does this cook-off make you leave on Sunday or do they allow you to stay a couple of days to chill out? Sorry for all the questions but you guys are the only onces I know that attend the original cook off event.