Investing in gold-fish

Brandy and Brian Jameson, center, owners of Jameson Heating and Air, pose for a picture with Jason Prater and Brittni Bates. Jameson Heating and Air was named the Chamber’s 2023 Business of the Year.

FFA member Hayleigh Misemer (left) and Madison Cowles jockey their fish during the goldfish races. Owners of the goldfish were able to hire FFA members to jockey their fish, in return for a donation to the FFA chapter

Skyler Lacey, whose fish won the races, poses for a picture with his “jockey” Jay Shepherd.

Max Springer and Mike Tebow, center, seen here with Chamber President Jason Prater and Chamber Director Brittni Bates, were presented with the Golden Apple Awards.

Standing between Jason Prater and  Brittni Bates, Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay holds his award. DeLay was named as the Chamber’s 2023 Citizen of the Year for his years of service to the community as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, Rotarian and more.

Doug and Matt Adams, owners of Adams Roofing, hold their chamber award. Adams Roofing was named the Chamber’s 2023 New Business of the Year. (Photos by Steve Chapman)

David Burnett and Brian Daugherty were the Chamber’s 2023 Business Leaders of the Year.

Sam Jones stands with his wife, Marsha, along with Jason Prater and Brittni Bates after being named recipient of the Chamber’s 2023 Legacy Award. (Photos by Steve Chapman)

The Mt. Vernon Area Chamber of Commerce had a new type of entertainment at their annual chamber banquet, held at Southern Charm Estates on Saturday, March 2.
This year’s banquet, titled “Run for the Roses,” had a Kentucky Derby theme, and while there were no thoroughbreds, attendees at the event got to experience a different type of competition: goldfish racing.
The chamber provided 20 goldfish, which were auctioned off by auctioneer Jason Bates. Those who successfully bid on the fish could also hire a member of the Mt. Vernon FFA to “jockey” the fish, in return for a $50 donation to the FFA chapter.
The fish jockeys raced the fish by putting them on one end of one of four eight-foot-long rectangular tanks, after which they would then use straws to blow bubbles to make the fish swim to the other end of the tank. The fish were raced in a series of rounds, during which the first fish to reach the other end of the tank was the winner and advanced to the next round.

There were cash prizes for the owners of the fish which placed first, second and third in the race; they split a pot that totaled half of the money raised through the auctioning of the fish. Skyler Lacey, whose fish came in first, won $1,700, Jerry Burrus, whose fish was second, won $1,020 and Marsha Jones, with the third-place fish, won $680.
There was also a special auction called a Calcutta, where attendees could essentially bid on the rights to each fish, with that money going into a separate pool. Jason Prater, president of the Mt. Vernon Area Chamber of Commerce, had the winning bid on Lacey’s fish and won $800.
Brittni Bates, chamber director, said holding the goldfish races fulfilled a longtime ambition of hers.
“I had actually attended a conference in San Marcos, Texas with a college friend of mine and first saw the goldfish auction and the goldfish races,” she said. “I had been wanting to recreate that for 12 years.”
At the end of the evening, the attendees who successfully bid on their goldfish got to take them home.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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