GREENVILLE - Hayley Maher spent much of Thursday at the Ohio State Fair, bringing home quite a few awards, and then went on to win the Miss Annie Oakley Shooting Contest at York Woods that night.
Hayley, the 14-year-old daughter of Amy and Gene Maher and sponsored by Western Ohio Podiatric Medical Center, won the competition in just two rounds of action.
“Good,” was what she responded softly with after being asked how she felt about winning the contest.
“She was exhausted and grumpy from the state fair,” her mother, the former Amy Barga, said.
Hayley, who will be a freshman at Greenville High School, said she practiced once or twice a week for half an hour at a time for a couple of weeks to get ready for the competition. Helping her with her practices were her father and uncle, Mick Maher.
First runner-up in the contest went to Katie Hurd, 14, daughter of Dean and Kris Hurd. She was sponsored by Pepcon.
She and Hayley were the only ones left after the four remaining finalists were eliminated from the contest at 85 feet away. So, the two of them competed for first and second place. Hayley missed her first shot but hit the second, while Katie missed both times.
“I feel good,” said Katie, who will also be a freshman at Greenville High School. “I’m glad Hayley won.”
In order to get a second runner-up, the other four candidates, all of whom missed the target at 85 feet, had to shoot again, and Majennica Nealeigh was the only one who hit the balloons. She has been competing in this contest for three or four years.
“I feel pretty good,” she said. “I didn’t think that I’d finish in the top three.”
The 2013 graduate was taught how to shoot by her grandfather, Buzz Nealeigh. The 18-year-old daughter of Melanie and Dan Nealeigh, was sponsored by Greenville Farm Power of the Past.
Following the finals, the pilgrimage took place at Brock Cemetery, where the essay winners read their works.
Opening ceremonies got underway this morning, and the entire weekend will be filled with activity revolving around the festival.