HUNNEWELL, Mo. — Tucker Willard just might notice something familiar on display next month at the Missouri State Fair.
A photo taken by the 12-year-old from Hunnewell was a winner in the 2021 Focus on Missouri Agriculture Photo Contest.
Tucker snapped the winning photo, “Perfect Napping Spot,” when he walked up on the front porch after playing outside.
“I thought it was a really cool picture when I saw the cat Snowflake laying in my little brother’s dump truck,” Tucker said.
Amateur photographers from across Missouri submitted nearly 900 photos to the contest sponsored by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. A panel of judges selected 21 winning photos, including Tucker’s for honorable mention in the Children’s Barnyard category for photographers age 12 and under.
“This year’s photo contest showcases farms and ranches of every shape and size throughout Missouri,” Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said in a news release. “Our farmers and ranchers work hard to feed, fuel and clothe not just our country, but the world. These talented amateur photographers showcase the agriculture industry’s education to that worthy task.”
Tucker, who turned 12 in May and took his winning photo while he was still 11, takes plenty of photos on his phone.
“I think it’s cool to see something you like in that moment and then being able to look back on it,” he said.
Inspiration comes from spending time on the family farm, where the Willards raise corn, soybeans and cattle — and from his mom, Amy Willard.
Her photo “All Smiles While Feeding the Cows” won honorable mention in 2020 in the contest’s Faces of the Farm category and was the First Family’s Choice.
“I love pictures,” she said. “I have pictures all over — my kids showing, us on the farm. Nowadays with technology, our cell phones, we have cameras in hand all the time. I love capturing moments and milestones of my family.”
Willard heard about the photo contest last year and planned to enter, then got diverted with life on the farm and five kids and ended up right at the deadline selecting photos to submit.
She included one she took of her daughter Aaralynn in March 2020 during morning chores.
“We were riding on our John Deere gator,” Willard said. “It was a beautiful spring morning, the kind you just cannot help but be ‘all smiles.’”
Tucker, who got a cell phone the same year his mom won the photo contest, asked her if he could enter this year She told him about the children’s barnyard category, and both submitted photos this year with Tucker taking a prize, a canvas print of his winning photo just like his mom.
If he’s not taking photos, Tucker enjoys helping his dad on the farm and showing cattle, pigs and rabbits. The family will be showing at the state fair — and taking time to check out his photo on display.
All the winning photos will be on display in the Agriculture Building throughout the Missouri State Fair, slated for Aug. 12 to 22 in Sedalia.