DARKE COUNTY — The Great Darke County Fair has featured a queen contest since 1962, but it wasn’t until 1975 that kings were added to the royal court.
Elvin Fourman, who now lives in neighboring Preble County and an open exhibitor at the Great Darke County Fair, was crowned the first king.
“I had graduated from Arcanum High School,” he said. ” I was an FFA member, and you could be in junior fair until you were 20. I was asked to represent the FFA and I said I’d be willing to do it and succeeded.”
He believes the pageant in which he participated had more than the five male contestants that were competing this year.
Because 1976 was the Bicentennial year, contestants were to dress accordingly.
“I think I wore knickers and a ruffled shirt,” he said. “It was kind of frightening.”
He explained that that it being the first year with king candidates included in the pageant, it was kind of a learning experience.
“I didn’t go to an other fairs like they do today,” he said.
Fourman is the eighth child and seventh son of the late Gerald and Catherine Fourman.
Now 60, Fourman is working in construction and works on his farm. He had worked for Allied Broadcast in Richmond, Indiana, for 20 years which was bought out by Harris and moved to Mason, Ohio. He continued on with that company for 6 1/2 years before everybody got laid off.
“I have farmed pretty much all of the time and I used to be a 4-H adviser,” he said.
He himself had been in 4-H for a few years as a youth but was in FFA all of high school. Today, he is a member of the Arcanum FFA Alumni.
He is somewhat “bummed” about the poultry show ruling this year because of Avian flu.
“I show ducks and geese at the Ohio and Indiana state fairs and used to take them to Kentucky and Michigan state fairs,” he said. “Now, I have birds with no place to go.”
He said he has 600 poultry and dairy cows on his farm, which is near New Paris and Eldorado.
“My niece, Krista Fourman, helps me show dairy cows at the Darke County Fair,” he said. “She enters them and I haul them. Lots of friends help show, and my neighbor girl will show for me in Preble County.”
His dairy cows will be among entries in the open show this year at the fair.
“I’ll be there Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” he said. “Without my poultry there this year, I might get to spend time d enjoying the fair here.”
Those who became kings in the ensuing years have been Vareghan Rasor, Mark Straszheim, Jeff Cassell, Shawn Keiser, Tim Mayo, Matt Barga, Bucky Burrell, Randy Brown, Tom Beam, David Harrison Mark Harrison, Keith Flory, Jeff Wuebker, Dale Brandt, Matt Rismiller, Alan Wuebker, Kevin Murphy, Chris Rismiller, Brian Timmerman, Kurt Labig, Aaron Arnett, Aaron Scammahorn, Lucas Langenkamp, Matt Aultman, Ryan Rismiller, Tyler Yingst, Jonathan Bateman, Craig Rismiller, Brett Bolyard, Wes McMillen, Allen Schmitz, Aaron Fraley, Kyle Beuter, Ryan Rose, Wyatt Knick, Jeffrey Mayo, Lucas King, Logan Moody, Thomas Shawn and now AJ Warner.
By the way, Fourman shared royal duties with the queen that year…..Carol Kremer.