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By Ryan McGeeneyThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
STUTTGART — The big winner of this year’s Rice Centerpiece Arrangement Contest at
the 2015 Arkansas Rice Expo not only took home the award for 1st place, but the people’s choice award as well.
Judges — as well as the voting public — recognized Laurie Benhase of Jacksonville
for her creative use of rice and other elements in creating the centerpiece. Benhase’s
centerpiece included lilies, chrysanthemums, and six varieties of cacti.
“I know cacti and rice are polar opposites — one needs water, the other doesn’t —
but I thought the combination worked well,” Benhase said. She also wove rice into
the basket itself.
2015 was Benhase’s second time entering the centerpiece arrangement contest.
This arrangement by Laurie Benhase of Jacksonville won both 1st Place and the People's
Choice Award at the 2015 Arkansas Rice Expo. (Photo by Division of Agriculture.)
Richard Klerk, interim staff chair for the Cooperative Extension Service office in
Woodruff County and organizer of the centerpiece contest, said three judges examined
19 entries from seven participants.
“The number of entries was down from last year, but the quality was still excellent,”
Judges for the contest were all Arkansas County Master Gardeners, Klerk said. They
judged each entry according to criteria including color harmony, design, balance,
proportion, the overall condition of the arrangement, the suitability of materials
in relationship to their respective container, distinction, originality and overall
Klerk said the arrangements were required to keep within a maximum height and width
of 24 inches, requiring some entrants to clip leaves to make it “under the wire.”
Arline Jackson of North Little Rock was awarded 2nd place in the contest, and Violeta Hayes of Wynne took 3rd place.
“I was impressed with the quality of the centerpieces, and the work that the contestants
put into their pieces. I’m looking forward to next year, and seeing ,ore people share
their talents with those that attend the rice expo.”
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) firstname.lastname@example.org