Award-Winning Baker Recalls Decades of State Fair Competitions


Rainey guesses she's collected about 1,000 ribbons in all her years of competing. | Image by NBC DFW

Sue Rainey has been submitting baked goods to Texas State Fair competitions for decades.

She started in 1981 when she was in her thirties. A friend who admired her cobblers suggested she enter the State Fair of Texas Creative Arts competition.

Her first entries were an apple pie and a coconut cream pie. She was thrilled to have won third place. She told NBCDFW, “You’d have thought I won the lottery.” From that point on, she said she “was addicted!”

The award-winning baker has continued the tradition for the past four decades. Over the years, she has entered pies, cakes, and candies. In all these years, she estimated she had received around 1,000 ribbons.

Even when Rainey has not won the competitions, she has left happy. When she does not win, “It’s still fine,” she said. “I like to watch the people who do win.”

Rainey’s peak competitive moment was in a 1996 chocolate cake competition. The renowned chef Julia Child was one of the judges that year. Child tried her cake, and Rainey won Best in Show.

“I was the lucky one,” Rainey shared. Child even personally pinned the ribbon on her.

The Creative Arts Competition for cakes took place earlier this year, on October 5. Anna Jones, from Coppell, took home Best in Show for the “Layered Cake” category with her layered white cake.

The pie contest will take place this Saturday, October 15. The candy competition also has yet to happen; it will take place on the last day of the State Fair, Sunday, October 23.

Marisa LeCour of Rockwall won Best in Show for the “Yeast Bread” category for her quick vegetable bread last Friday, October 7.

The fair has instituted several new contests this year, including “Cajun Cookin’ Contest,” “Pasta Contest,” “Be Creative with Mrs. Wages Contest,” “Low-to-NO Sugar Showdown Creative Cookies,” and “Blue Ribbon Round-up Game Day Delights.”

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