2019 Missouri State Fair

In 2015, 2016, and 2018, I scheduled in a trip to the Missouri State Fair as part of a broader vacation plan that took me to other areas.  Missouri is such a geographic center that one can be vacationing south, west, or east from where I live and still make a pit stop to central Missouri along the way.  Originally, my plan was to forget about the Missouri State Fair in 2019 since this year’s vacation plans were taking me to the Black Hills and Big Horns in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana, and Missouri is not on the way to any of them.  But somewhere along the way, I decided to make a ballbuster of a dedicated trip exclusively to Sedalia, Missouri–280 miles each way–specifically to spend a Saturday at the Missouri State Fair.

What would motivate me to do this?  A couple of reasons.  First, my best sighting by far during last year’s fair season was the 18-year-old blond who I saw at the Missouri State Fair, and her legend has only exploded further for me in the 12 months since.  She seemed to be a local girl, hanging out with a number of friends at the fair in a way that made me think there was a very real possibility I’d be seeing her again on the same Saturday night that I saw her here last year.  Furthermore, I saw exactly one girl Juuling last year at the Missouri State Fair, and had a roller coaster ride of cigarette smokers especially in the evening hours before, during, and after country singer Cole Swindell played in the grandstand.  I figured that with cigarette prices in Missouri being the lowest in the country and the state’s general tobacco-friendly culture that maybe it would continue to be bypassed by the Juuling trend and I’d get a day similar to last year’s sightings bonanza.  Let’s just say I fell quite a bit short of those lofty expectations.

It wasn’t a good sign when I pulled into Sedalia, Missouri, around 11 a.m. on Saturday morning and was at a red light next to this gorgeous 19ish brunette….and she was Juuling.  After that, I stopped at a barbecue chain in town that used to have a franchise in central Iowa but it closed a couple of years ago.  Having a good meal before the fair would keep me from eating overpriced fair food and take myself off task, so it was a win-win.  From there, I pulled into the grounds for the Missouri State Fair and claimed my free parking spot right around noon (by comparison it costs $15 to park for the day at the Minnesota State Fair).  The morning clouds were just starting to part as I walked up to the gate, and I was absolutely thrilled to be entering the gates of the Missouri State Fair just as I had three of the four previous years.

Within two minutes, I had my first sighting of a curly-haired light brunette 20-something smoking a cigarette while pushing a stroller.  She was the embodiment of rural Missouri and looked very much like the young mothers who constituted most of my sightings in the afternoon hours of past Missouri State Fairs.   There was nothing impressive about the sighting, but it definitely reinforced that I was in the right place.

And as I made the first lap around the fairgrounds, I paid particular attention to see if the Weston Tobacco stand was still around…and it was.  Last year, this stand facilitated four cigar sightings in the evening, and while none of them was individually spectacular, I knew that as long as this stand was selling cigars on site, there was always the potential for an epic moment.  The “general store” down the block also continued to sell cigarettes, and it’s this tobacco-friendly culture that really sets Missouri apart from my other state fairs, all of which quit selling tobacco products a decade or more ago.

The first sighting to impress came within that first hour of arrival, where a duo of couples stood outside a commercial building and the only smoker of the bunch was Sighting #3, a dark blond in a gray-striped tanktop and athletic shorts with a pretty face who looked mid-20s.  The other girl in the group was a young mommy pushing a stroller.  I got to see a few drags from the smoker before she finished her cigarette and retired it to the ground, and then walked toward the stroller to resume conversation with her friend.

My first jaunt down the impressive Missouri State Fair midway came before 1 p.m. and gave me my first extra-base hit of the day with a stemwinder of a sighting.  A family of smokers hovered in the center of the midway with several participants, and all of them were smoking except the baby in the stroller.  The only smoker in the group who interested me, however, was Sighting #5, this curly-haired early-to-mid 20s light brunette decked out in a rainbow-striped top and jean shorts who was at least eight months pregnant.  This was my second sighting of a very pregnant girl smoking in the last 24 hours as I saw another one the night before at the Iowa State Fair!  Now the Iowa girl was prettier, but this girl in front of me now was a cut above your typical rural Missouri hillbilly girl.  And like the Iowa girl the night before, the pregnant smoker sat down on the pavement while the rest of her group stood, at least trying to hide her pregnant belly as she smoked from possible onlookers, but she wasn’t fast enough to escape my notice.  I took a few pics that didn’t turn out too badly and watched from a nearby bench as she and the rest of the family smoked, but then the sighting took a most favorable and surprising turn when she got up from the ground and became mobile….

Whatever bashfulness about being a pregnant smoker I figured she felt when I first saw her sitting down to hide her belly was an afterthought now as she strutted down the fairgrounds with her belly hanging out and a cigarette between her fingers.  Suddenly I wasn’t the only one noticing her either as several people were doing a double-take.  Even a middle-aged female carny started calling out for the family to participate in a game, and her eyes were focused on the massive baby bump from the light brunette pregnant girl.  Apparently this was a little too redneck even for carnival workers in central Missouri to not do a double take!  I wasn’t able to get a dragging pic but I got a holding pic from the side that shows off her unmistakable late-stage pregnancy.  She took a couple more drags and then surrendered the cork filter butt, which I was able to ID as an L & M Menthol.  This was definitely an extra-base hit and one I’d consider for end-of-year honors had I not seen a more attractive smoker who was equally as pregnant the night before at the Iowa State Fair.  But I did get photo evidence of this one and it was a very satisfying farrow-to-finish smoking show from a shameless pregnant smoker.

I had arrived less than an hour earlier and was having a very impressive start to the day.  In 2015, within the first hour I had already seen my first showing from the sexpot trio who would go down in the history books as my “12-hour sighting”, but that seemed like a fluke as the early afternoon hours at Missouri had been pretty bland in the years since.  In this case, a very extended stretch of blandness was in front of me, the likes of which I don’t recall suffering through on a fair sightings day at least since those bleak afternoon hours in Indiana two years ago.

I’d get one more noteworthy sighting from a sexy young mom before the day went completely south though.  I was on the main block of bars and grills on the grounds when I spotted this blond mommy and the presumed baby daddy approaching pushing a stroller, the blond smoking a cigarette and the guy not smoking.  This was perfect, I thought as I watched Sighting #6 approach from several yards away.  I would have time to ready my phone and get a frontal shot without even having to move.  Unfortunately, I must have pocket dialed for some app to open and it spent the next three minutes loading and wouldn’t let me out, causing me to miss my chance for a photo.  I was frustrated but followed her into the midway, waiting out this phone issue and watching her set her toddler up to ride on the kiddie rides at the front of the midway while dragging from her cigarette the whole time.   The gal appeared mid-to-late 20s and her blond hair was in a ponytail with a black tanktop and dark jean shorts below, a convenient hole in the back pocket revealing the cigarette pack stuffed in there was Marlboro Reds.  She was decently attractive by the standards of many of the other young mothers on the grounds, but had a couple of unfortunately placed tattoos, including one on her upper leg that was hard to avoid noticing.  My phone was working again but her back was to me watching the kid on the ride.  She continued smoking the cigarette till its completion, discarding it on the midway pavement just as the pregnant smoker had done about a half hour earlier.  I’d get some relief from my pictoral frustrations a couple of hours later when I saw this same couple in the midway again, only this time both smoking.  Her back was still to me but at one point she turned enough that I got a pic of her dragging in semi-profile.

The turning point for the day came shortly after that first sighting of the previous girl when I had a brief moment of elation followed by an abrupt airing out of my balloon.  A foursome of very wholesome mid-teen girls were walking on the south side of the grounds and I immediately saw cigarettes protruding from the fingers of two of them, and a request by one girl for the other to hold hers.  For a hot moment, I thought I was about to witness the sighting of the year, but then I noticed the cigarettes were nowhere to be seen and there was no smell coming from whatever they were holding between their fingers.  It didn’t take long to realize they were punking me–and everybody else–with fake cigarettes that were likely for sale at some gimmick store.  From a distance, they looked convincing, especially for a guy like myself who drove so far to witness the very image the girls were falsely projecting.  In moments, the foursome was walking to some commercial vendor, two of them still holding their fake cigarettes and undoubtedly trying to mess with as many people as possible.  I’m sure they had no idea their little gag was the cruelest possible disappointment imaginable on a certain guy from Iowa in their presence.

There was little happening, which led me to take some risks on some girls who intrigued me, including a duo of 18ish girls, one blond and one brunette, who seemed like strong candidates for tobacco consumption.  The brunette was tall and had a sexy, slender body with a bare midriff top and draped in tight jeans.  I could swear there was a box of cigarettes stuffed in her left back pocket, and the less glamorous blond friend next to her almost certainly had a pack of cigarettes in her back pocket.  I followed them through the midway and kept tabs on them as they wandered to an isolated spot near a fair building, certain I was about to see smoking….but instead I saw Juuling….and quite a bit of it at that…from the sexy brunette.  The blond didn’t Juul at the time, leading me to believe it still possible that her back pocket contained a cigarette pack as I suspected, but the box in the dark brunette’s back pocket may well have been a box of Juul pods as it didn’t bear quite the same rectangular shape as a cigarette pack.  It was a frustrating find, and unfortunately not an isolated one.  Juul hadn’t yet found its way to central Missouri in August 2018 when I was last there, but it certainly had now.

It was well over an hour later until the next passable sighting, which was another young mother sighting emerging from the midway onto the block of bars and grills.  Sighting #10 struck a pretty impressive first impression, her golden blond hair flowing onto the shoulders of her white T-shirt with a sexy pair of black shorts and smooth legs below, walking with a cigarette between her fingers and a daughter who looked about four years old next to her and a nonsmoking husband on the other side.  I got some good pics of her too, and while there was nothing wrong her, she was more homely and older-looking than I anticipated based on my first glance.  She probably wasn’t any older than early 30s but the body was in much better shape than the face which was pretty significantly weathered as is clear in the frontal holding pic close-up I got of her.  It was still a very nice presentation in an afternoon that was dangerously deficient on nice presentations by smoker girls.

Within the next half hour, I was checking out the Chuck and Dee’s open-air bar near the front entrance, the location where the most iconic moments of 2015’s 12-hour sighting played out with my two favorite girls sitting inside smoking one cigarette after another during a live music concert.  Chuck and Dee’s hasn’t given me much to get excited about in my visits since then, but the band equipment was set up in the back and made me think it’s possible there’d be a performance that would draw some friendly demographics.  But as I looked at the table right in front of the band equipment I noticed two packs of Marlboro Lights sitting there, and then noticed that the mid-30s brunette was smoking one.  Again, this is an open-air bar, but this table was inside the bar much like the table where 2015’s chain-smoking babes sat.  Sighting #12 soon got up and started walking outside where she finished her cigarette, notably wearing a T-shirt that read “Well Behaved Women Don’t Make History”.  She wasn’t really my type but the presentation was memorable.  And then an hour or so later when I passed by Chuck and Dee’s again, here was the woman onstage singing as she was apparently the lead singer of the band performing that afternoon.  Even though the sighting itself didn’t necessarily rock my world, the storyline was pretty cool that the lead singer of this band had two packs of Marlboro Lights on the table in front of her band equipment that she needed to get through the day’s stage antics.

It was about 3 p.m. by now and I wasn’t panicking yet, but as those mid-to-late afternoon hours ticked by with very little going on that was worth mentioning, I was inching closer and closer to panic mode.  It was nearly 5:00 before I got the next sighting that interested me enough to stop and take a look, and even that was pretty thin gruel.  On first glance, Sighting #21 was a semi-intriguing mother-daughter sighting where both generations of females sat on a bench tending to their cork filter cigarettes, leaving enough room on the other end of the bench for me to take a seat next to them.  The daughter was about 21 and kind of cute, but in that homely “Deliverance” hillbilly sort of way, and the unattractive mother sitting next to her was the real deal, talking with a full-blown bumpkin accent about “going to the show tonight” that was kind of interesting to voyeurize over on the same bench.  I grew up on a dirt road in the country but this was a whole different breed of backwater.  The daughter had chin-length blond hair with a little ponytail up top, wearing a frumpy gray blouse with polka dots and a pair of dark jeans ripped beyond recognition to the point where they looked like they’d be a challenge to wear.  Her face was leaning toward her mother which made it easy for me to take a picture of her cigarette hand but impossible to get any snapshot of her face while dragging.  That was okay as she wasn’t exactly a prime attraction, but I was so parched for sightings at this point in the day that even she was a refreshing find.  She got up with the mother and tossed her cigarette to the ground without crushing it out.  It was a Marlboro Red.

Almost another hour passed and I was starting to panic as the sightings just weren’t coming.  I’d finally get another extra-base hit going up to 6:00 when I spotted an odd couple in the seating area behind the food vendors.  Both were smoking but that was the only thing they had in common.  The guy was a rugged-looking mid-20s black guy and the girl was a sweet early 20s brunette who could not have looked more wholesome even down to her very conservative outfit.  The state of Missouri runs the spectrum from hard-core redneck girls to the kinds of girls like Sighting #27 who are on an entirely different spectrum of wholesomeness, her long brown hair running down her back with a black tanktop and dark jeans covering her decidedly girl-next-door body.  It was hard to reconcile this innocence with the pack of Camel Menthols in front of her and the cigarette protruding through her fingers.  A bench was open behind her and I took a seat, originally not optimistic about photos as they seemed like too big of an exposure risk from where I sat coupled with the angle she was sitting, but I was stealth as a cat and snuck a couple lucky shots in, one at the exact moment she turned my way so I captured her adorable face in the shot.  I thought I had gotten her dragging in that shot but instead I got the exhale, her eyes closed as she released the obviously pleasurable smoke from her lungs.  She bantered with the black boyfriend for the duration of their respective cigarettes and beers.  I got a good five-minute show before she tossed the cork filter Camel Menthol butt to the grass and stomped it out.  Up to this point she was my favorite sighting of the day even though I hadn’t seen enough to justify putting her on any year-end list.  At the very end of the night I saw her and the boyfriend again on the midway, but neither was smoking.  She would still rate among my top-five sightings of the day as it’s impossible to overstate how sweet she looked.

It was 6:00 now, one of the last two benchmarks that would determine whether I could salvage anything decent out of this day.  It was last year at this time that the Cole Swindell concertgoers started piling into the grandstand area, and the day went completely off the chain and stayed that way till midnight.  Tonight the grandstand act was contemporary country duo Brothers Osborne who seemed like a promising prospect to draw a crowd somewhat similar to what Swindell brought the year before, but surveying that early line and the incoming crowd arriving in the early evening, it was becoming increasingly clear that nothing that electric would be going on tonight.  I was slowly stitching together mediocrities for the next two hours, right up until the point where the last concertgoers were rolling into the grandstand for opening act Ashley McBryde.  I was really starting to regret making the nine-hour round trip visit to Missouri as it didn’t seem poised to deliver anything at all resembling the sightings smorgasbord I was treated to 12 months earlier.

And while that impression largely held, there was a brief interval just after 8:00 where, at least for a 15-minute stretch, the long journey was worth it for me.  I said at the outset that I’d been keeping tabs on the Weston Tobacco stand at various points in the day in hopes that a young hottie would be smoking a cigar purchased there.  And as luck would have it, I arrived just in time for the purchase and consumption of a hot blond’s first cigar.  I had seen other girls hover in the background of this stand during the day, usually because their boyfriend, husband, or father was buying a cigar, but it was quickly clear that the young couple shopping around the display of cigars at 8 p.m. had a female participant even more interested in it than the male.  The blond looked like she was about 23 and had the face of an angel, her shoulder-length blond hair held back in a ponytail and wearing a pale pink blouse and a pair of medium-blue daisy dukes.  Even generically, she looked like about the last girl one would expect to see shopping around for cigars at the Missouri State Fair, but not only was she doing just that, she was being a very discriminating and plugged-in consumer.  She was picking up various cigars from the boxes and asking the salesman about them, her adorable doe eyes bulging with attentiveness as she hung on his every word…..

One of the first cigars she picked up was a huge Churchill and she seemed genuinely interested in it, talking it over with her boyfriend even though it was very clear she was the decider in this relationship whose opinion would ultimately guide the final selection.  Unfortunately, I felt like the salesman directed her away from the larger cigar as she began perusing the selection and asking him about other smaller cigars….but then she went back to the Churchill again and I was feeling my male parts begin to stand up as the thought passed through my head that she might actually buy and smoke this thing at the fair.  The thought of this sweetheart smoking that big cigar in public sent starbursts ricocheting through my body.  But alas, she kept moving around, asking questions that I couldn’t hear but loving her body language as she acted like a bride-to-be picking out the “perfect wedding dress” rather than a cigar.  She ultimately decided upon a medium-sized darker-colored cigar, and the couple purchased two of them.   She was carded and was able to make the transaction, surreally walking away from the stand in her pink blouse and her jean short cutoffs with two cigars in hand.  Now it was just a matter of whether she’d smoke it tonight or save it for later.  I prayed she would light it up sooner rather than later and followed her and the boyfriend to this remote grassy spot a few yards behind the tobacco stand.  This had not been a lucky day for me so far, but my luck was about to change as she began unwrapping the cigar and the couple hovered in this remote area preparing to light what I assumed to be her first cigar…or at least her first real cigar….

The boyfriend fished around in the bag they were carrying with them and found a lighter.  This was happening!  I was sitting a few yards away in a relatively inconspicuous spot with camera in hand, ready to capture the making of history as this adorable blond was about to officially become Sighting #41.  She held the cigar in her hand briefly as the boyfriend ignited the flame and began toasting it.  In seconds, it was in her mouth as she slowly brought this cigar to life, bursts of cigar smoke exploding from her mouth as she cooperated in the stick’s lighting.  Eight hours of sightingless frustration leading up to this moment had all become worth it as she was now puffing from the cigar on her own.  I wish I had been close enough to hear her reaction, or for my pictures to be clearer for that matter, but it was thrilling to know the fruits of her discriminating selection process were  about to stink up the Missouri State Fairgrounds in a big way.  So how did the rest of the sighting go?  Mixed bag.   I was hoping the boyfriend would just get his own cigar and they’d walk around the main part of the fairgrounds smoking them as a couple, but unfortunately they decided to share it.  I guess I could live with that so long as the sharing was equitable.  The good news is that it was equitable–in fact, she probably smoked the lion’s share of it–but the bad news was they started walking away through the most remote corridors of the Missouri State Fairgrounds amidst all of the farm equipment and all-terrain vehicles on display.  I was able to follow, but not without standing out like a sore thumb having already followed them a football field’s distance…..

They passed the cigar back and forth as they walked in relative isolation, and it remained amazing to see this sweet and wholesome-looking girl publicly smoking a cigar, the brown of the cigar representing such a stunning color contrast to her pastel wardrobe, and the smell emanating from her exhales fantastically foul as I walked through nearly all of them.  She smoked it at an aggressive pace, chatting casually with the boyfriend while puffing away.  I got pics, but again there’s bad news as I was following them directly into the sunset so most of the shots turned out quite dark.  I never did get a good shot of her face.  Fearing I was becoming too familiar, I hung back just enough to keep tabs on their progress without directly following.  I noticed they were heading to the swine barn of all places and it looked as though they were going inside.  Even at the Missouri State Fair, smoking is banned in all of the buildings, yet with each step closer that she took without surrendering the cigar, I was becoming convinced she was going in there with that stogie in her hand.  But at the very last second, she stubbed it against the outside wall of the building, saving the second half of it for later I guess.  Unfortunately I wouldn’t see her again.  The sighting was quite a ride and I felt like I really got to see something special following this moment from the shopping cart to the public consumption of her presumed first cigar.  And it raised a few questions.  Since she had a lighter in her pack, does that mean she normally smokes cigarettes?  Or did she just bring one last night knowing that she planned to smoke a cigar with the boyfriend?  Or does she just have a lighter in her bag for lighting up scented candles??!?!  Whatever her story, I knew I’d eventually be vindicated in keeping tabs on that cigar stand and I’d have had a hard time doing better than this.

With my cigar-chomping cutie now in the swine barn, it was time to hustle on up to the grandstand as opening act Ashley McBryde had finished her set, meaning there would be a smoke break intermission before main attraction Brothers Osborne came onstage.  It was nothing like last year during the Cole Swindell concert when it was like shooting fish in a barrel picking off one sexy smoker after another, but there were still a few lookers such as Sighting #42, a wholesome auburn-haired mid-20s cutie out smoking with her boyfriend, and Sighting #44, a curly-haired light brunette who had a sexy body in a black tanktop and jean shorts, and looked late 20s, but who never cooperated by turning around and letting me see her face!  I got to see plenty of the face of the nonsmoking boyfriend, but she had her back to the gate and I struggled mightily to see if her face matched the body.  I never did get that close look, but she smoked two in a row out there as her nonsmoking boyfriend waited for her.

There had been glamorous young hotties roaming around the Missouri State Fair at various points in the day, but virtually no smoking from any of them.  This would finally change with a sexpot early 20s duo, one blond and one brunette, who were talking to a guy in front of the grandstand gate.  When I first laid eyes upon them, the guy was smoking and the girls were not, so I didn’t pay too close of attention until a few moments later when the blond startled me by working a lighter to spark up the unlit all-white hanging from her lips.  Sighting #47 was an intriguing find and sexy as hell in her black tanktop and pale blue jean shorts.  There wasn’t much of a wind at the fair last night but this blond seemed to be fighting imagined gale-force winds, turning in various directions until finally igniting it.  At this point the sighting did a 180-degree pivot as the blond handed the lit cigarette to the even hotter long-haired brunette with a gorgeous face who was wearing a skimpy red tanktop with a pair of pale blue jean shorts that fit her ass perfectly, and a pair of cowgirl boots on the bottom.  The brunette had just become Sighting #48 and continued to engage with the male smoker she’d already been chatting with.  I had been expecting the blond to take back the cigarette she lit for the brunette, but the sexy brunette got to smoke the whole thing.  Her shallow drags and equally slim exhales made clear that this brunette was likely just a social smoker.  The fact that she needed her nonsmoking friend to light her cigarettes for her did not fill me with confidence that cigarette smoking is part of her usual routine.  Either way, I was so starved for some glamorous energy last night that I’d even take a social smoker who can’t figure out how to work a cigarette lighter.  And make no mistake these girls were highly glamorous, especially when graded on a curve for the downscale audiences of rural Missouri country music concerts.  Anyway, her shallow puffs continued for about seven minutes before she dropped the two-thirds-smoked cigarette to the pavement and the trio broke apart with the girls going their own way.  I hope this guy sticks around in these girls’ social circle and gets them to continue smoking.

I was as close to being on a roll as I’d been all day at this point in the evening, and the pinnacle of the streak came at the bottom of the block of bars and grills where a cluster of four women of varied ages huddled in the middle of the street with cigarettes.  I’m assuming they were part of an extended family unit as most of them were over 35, but one heavyset girl looked early-to-mid-20s, and then there was the cute little brunette who looked about 16 or 17.  Sighting #49 was a cute and massively wholesome long-haired brunette, dressed very conservatively in a purple, long-sleeved shirt and dark blue jeans.  Tried as I wanted to be cynical looking at her standing with the adults with cigarette in hand and assume she was older than she looked, there was just no denying this cutie was a high school girl who had permission to smoke with the adults.  It was a very nice show too as her style points fit right in with the maturity of her social group, taking long and intense drags and producing cloudy exhales.  The crowd was such that I figured I might be able to sneak in a couple of relatively closeup pictures, and even though they’re imperfect with the carnival lighting backdrop, I got both a holding and a dragging shot of her, both decently conveying her teenage innocence.  Putting the camera away and watching the show, her performance peaked when she took a deep drag from the cigarette and began talking to her group, smoke spraying out of her mouth and filling the airspace dominated by the older women smokers.  Unfortunately the show was soon to end and the group split apart with my teen smoker going with the younger gals toward the midway, taking a final drag from her cigarette and then tossing the smoldering remains to the pavement with a wrist flourish that made clear she does this regularly.  I tracked down the burning cigarette and IDed it as a Marlboro Menthol.  I walked behind her for a bit to see if she had a pack stuffed in the back pocket of her jeans.  She did not, but my goodness if seeing her body type from the back didn’t reinforce my speculation that this girl was mid-teen rather than the ages of the rest of her social group.  She was the only bona fide teen smoker I’d found this year at the Missouri State Fair and was the second-best sighting of the day.

I’d see her again at the end of the night, again near the edge of the midway, and this time was with a middle-aged couple who I figured we’re her parents.  I kept tabs on them as I hovered near the front of the midway just in case she lit up again, but the crowd was pretty sparse at that point and I couldn’t linger with as much freedom as I’d hoped without getting busted.  Eventually, the parents lit up cigarettes but the daughter didn’t get one this time.  Still, it was very obvious this cutie was a regular smoker the way she handled herself the first time.  She didn’t have the chops to compete with last year’s amazing heavy-smoking Reds teen who looked like Lucy Camden from “7th Heaven”, but it was nice to at least get a taste of the teen smoking tradition at Missouri staying alive as, just like Minnesota and Iowa, pretty much everyone else I was seeing her age in Missouri last night was Juuling.

The pace of sightings slowed again after the adorable teen brunette, but that crowded block and bars and grills can be counted upon to deliver in some capacity given all the younger people that hang out there in the evening.  One of the evening’s sexiest emissaries was Sighting #53, the female half of a mid-to-late 20s couple, a long-haired brunette with a perfect body draped in a yellow bare-midriffed tanktop and a pair of tight medium-blue jean shorts that packaged her incredible ass perfectly.  Both boyfriend and girlfriend were smoking, and heading down the hill of the block of bars with cigarettes in hand.  Maybe it was the lighting but her face didn’t strike me as being as gorgeous as her body upon first inspection, but as I turned around and got a better look, I noticed she was very pretty as well.  There were no bells and whistles to the smoking show regarding style points but with as beautiful and sexy as she was, SHE was the bell and whistle of this smoking show!  They briefly hovered at the bottom of the block and I attempted a few photos.  I had low confidence in the pics turning out and they ended up not being salvageable at all…..but as she walked off under a bright street light, I was able to salvage one very nice ass shot, unfortunately without the cigarette visible.  I followed the couple into a more isolated spot where they both finished their cigarettes and the sexy brunette dropped it to the ground without crushing it out, which seems to be a fairly common practice among Missouri girls.  Her brand was a Camel Menthol.

Back to that block full of bars and grills, there was a Great White Whale at the fair last night who left my tongue hanging out like a dog every time I walked past her.  Had she ever smoked a cigarette she’d have been the girl of the day by far, but her friends group was gingerly sipping beers for hours and none of them ever had a cigarette, so I figured she was a major long shot.  I’d guess she was 22 or 23, with the face of an angel and a long mane of that Missouri-style strawberry hair, her top covered in a black-and-white-striped blouse and her curvy bottom draped in the most perfect pair of tight white shorts I’d ever seen, with a button fly that accentuated her curves even more nicely.  Every time I walked past her over the course of the evening, my heart skipped a beat, and I made a point of keeping close tabs on her just in case an unlikely cigarette was produced between her fingers.  She never did light up over the nearly three hours I observed her on the block of bars and grills, but she brightened my night even without a cigarette.

Around 10:00 the Brothers Osborne concert was dismissing and I was close to the grandstand in hopes of seeing waves of fairgoers requiring a concert-ending nicotine fix, although given how mediocre the haul from the grandstand crowd was before the concert and during the intermission, my hopes weren’t very high.  It largely went as expected with a few new finds but nothing too life-changing.  The best was Sighting #57, a mid-to-late 20s light brunette in a brown dress who sat down on an open bench with her boyfriend and both lit up cigarettes.  They were close enough to the rest of the departing crowd that I was able to keep one eye on her as she smoked and the other eye on the waves of people exiting the grandstand.

I still had some hope that the block of bars would produce some quality moments after the concert ended.  It was at that point in the night last year where my Lucy Camden lookalike went nuts with her Marlboro Reds, but there wouldn’t be anything close to that dramatic last night.  On my final run through the midway, I caught the tail end of Sighting #63, featuring this tall mid-20s brunette whose dark brown hair was braided in pigtails hanging over her shoulders.  She struck quite a pose with those pigtails and her impressive height, hovering over the rest of her group and being the only one with a cigarette.  She was dragging when I laid eyes on her and then I settled in for the rest of the show, but the rest of the show would consist of a single additional drag and watching her drop the cigarette to the ground and crush it out with her shoe, her final exhale spilling into the sky inches above the airspace of the shorter people in her friends group.  Wish I’d been able to see more of this one.

From there I walked toward the bathroom near the grandstand where the final wave of concertgoers was preparing to leave for the night, among them Sighting #64, who I can only assume was the blond mother in a threesome that included her, her presumed husband, and a girl who looked about 12.  The only one smoking was the blond mother as she talked with the preteen while progressing toward the fairgrounds exit.  Maybe she wasn’t the child’s mother as she definitely didn’t look old enough to have a 12-year-old, her soft features and body type draped in a tanktop and jeans reminiscent of a gal in her mid-20s.  Whatever the case, I walked to their side en route to the gate and watched several drags and continued social interaction between the smoking woman and the preteen girl.

And finally, my last impressive find of the night was a gal I’d made a mental note of in the afternoon, this sexy mid-20s light brunette in a black and white-striped top and fire engine red shorts that fit her body perfectly.  I was walking past the Chuck and Dee’s bar which hadn’t delivered anything worth mentioning up to this point during the day but ended the evening with a flourish.  Sitting on a bench was a middle-aged woman next to the red-shorted beauty with an older and younger man standing in front of them on the bench.  The only one of the four smoking was the light brunette….and it wasn’t a cigarette but a little cigar!  Sighting #65 was a sweet reward since I had seen this girl before and noticed there was a box in the back pocket of her tight red shorts…which I figured was a pack of cigarettes but was now clearly a box of little cigarette-shaped cigars.  I recognized the young guy in the foursome as her boyfriend/husband, but who were the middle-aged couple that each of them were talking to?  It was probably her parents…but maybe it was his parents.  Either way, it was incredibly sexy watching my hot brunette seated next to this older gal and conversing at length while repeatedly taking puffs from her cigar.  I was able to claim the end of the same bench the two women were seated on, but didn’t dare go for pictures with the men hovering so close in front of them and looking my way.  I was able to get multiple glances at her dragging from the slow-burning cigar though, turning her head over her shoulder to release her exhales away from her mother/mother-in-law.  Great imagery all around, especially when the boyfriend started using his foot to gently caress the bare legs of his cigar-smoking lover, all while continuing to chat with the older couple.  When the two women stood up from the bench, that was my shot to get a couple of rear photos, capturing her awesome ass in those red shorts but little else as the cigar in her hand was mostly a blur.  She took a few more drags from it and I really wanted to see the butt to find out what it was, as it looked higher-end than a Swisher Sweet but also definitely looked like it was commercially sold rather than one of the cigars sold at the Weston Tobacco booth.  Unfortunately I wouldn’t get my chance as she stubbed out the cigar on the ground and tossed the butt in the trash can.  I still walked away very pleased that at least one of the girls I’d become psychologically invested in early in the day ended up delivering, and with a cigar no less!  One of my top-five sightings of the day.

It was now after 11:00, and after two consecutive days of walking multiple hours on fairgrounds, my feet were sore and I was winding down.  I was gonna take one final walk past the block of bars and grills and then through the midway, and then call it a night.  The fair seems to continue after midnight so maybe at some point I’ll be engaged enough to stick around, but it wasn’t gonna be last night.  I made the final loop and saw little worth mentioning, so it was time to make the long walk back to my car in the parking lot at around 11:35.  I ended up with 68 sightings, my lowest haul yet at the Missouri State Fair and down a full 30% from last year.  Unfortunately I figured that 2018 was more likely the outlier than 2019 because of the demographics of that Cole Swindell concert, and of course one unforgettable sighting destined to be a first ballot Hall of Famer in my all-time sightings canon who I had really, really hoped would be there again last night.  I still had a few really great moments this year, particularly the blond buying and smoker her presumed first cigar, and suspect this venue is a good one to continue patronizing because of the smoker-friendly tradition of the central Missouri culture and the unusually tobacco-friendly nature of this fairgrounds, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed that the day wasn’t better.

Especially disappointing was that Juul had found its way into Missouri in a way it hadn’t yet in August 2018.  Beyond that, there was a general sense that there just aren’t that many young smokers to be found anymore even in rural Missouri.  If smoking is falling as far out of fashion even here as the day’s findings pointed toward, then smoking is in really tough shape nationally.  I can’t even imagine what this fairgrounds would have looked like 20 years ago had I attended then.  With a long drive ahead of me back to central Iowa, I decided I’m unlikely to ever again make a dedicated trip specifically for a day at the Missouri State Fair.  Most years looking forward, my mid-to-late August vacation plans will take me in a direction where I can stop at the Missouri State Fair along the way, so I will be going back in 2020 and at least one of the two years after that, but if my vacation plans have me going in a different direction, I’ll probably just spend an extra day at the Iowa State Fair rather than make a long drive back and forth to Sedalia, Missouri.  The venue has the potential to be incredible, as it proved last year, but it’s just not dependably fantastic, or even dependably acceptable.  The more populated fairgrounds in Minnesota and Iowa just hold higher statistical potential to find something worth your while than does Missouri, much as it pains me to admit that.



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