Smith Valley girl reigns as fair queen

Smith Valley resident Brandin Sellers-Mann is reigning over the Nevada State Fair as queen this year.

A fourth generation Nevadan, her great-grandfather August came to Smith Valley just after the First World War.

Brandin describes the 56-acre farm property as being more of a family farm than a ranch. The 17-year-old Smith High School student and her parents, Charlie and Luetta Sellers, recently moved into the main house on the property.

As queen, Brandin has been called to watch a lot of animals these past five days.

"It's a lot of fun," she said as she was on her way to the dog agility show. "Basically, anything you can imagine in the way of livestock is here and all sorts of events you can do with them."

Brandin is a busy girl. She is a member of the Smith Valley 4-H program, the National Honor Society, and has received a State FFA degree.

"I'm taking a pig this year," she said. "I normally raise beef, but I'm involved in so many different organizations I didn't get started in time. My brother does pigs and I used to tease him about how pigs smell so bad. But last week I got the grand champion out of my county show."

Brandin is the granddaughter of Chuck and Carolyn Mann.

She started work as fair queen last weekend when she went to Quincy to be part of the parade. She has been helping out with exhibits and shows ever since.

Carson City's 4-Hers were among the larger contingents, with more than a dozen youngsters bringing 33 rabbits to be judged.

It was the last fair 20-year-old Desiree Rogers will participate in. The Douglas High School millennium graduate and 4-H Club president will have to make the transition to adult leader next year.

She is a veterinarian major at the University of Nevada, Reno as well as a Nevada agricultural scholar.

With the words, "I am a corn dog, you will obey me," ringing in my ears, I visited the state fair on Friday. I'd been listening to the fair's talking corn dog spots all week on the radio, and there was just something about that phrase.

It was my first time at the fair and I got to help judge the pasta sauce contest. There were only four entries and the quick linguine clam sauce won.

That was the first time I'd eaten clams. The sauce was fine, but I don't think I'll be running right out to buy more clams.

The real treat was watching my little friend, 4-year-old Nick Dey, go on his first Ferris Wheel ride.

Train buff and Douglas County court bailiff George Wennhold called last weekend to point out that there are at least 49 Merci boxcars. In my column I wrote that one had been given to each state in 1949. But George is dead on, because the then-territory of Hawaii and District of Columbia were given a single boxcar to share. Alaska was left out entirely, according to my information.

George said he has seen the boxcar at the Hawaiian railroad museum and it looks to be in about the same state of preservation as ours.

I unintentionally played a trick on any of my readers trying to get through to me. If you dial 881-1402, you will get a noise like a car alarm. In order to leave a message for me, you have to dial 882-2111 and then ask the operator for extension 402 or dial it in yourself if the auto-attendant answers. Sorry.

Editor Barry Smith said he dialed up the extension last weekend and found there were six messages for the late Alan Rogers on it, including four from a man named John.

Kurt Hildebrand is former managing editor at the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at 882-2111, ext. 402, or send him an e-mail at


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