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A contest where everyone wins…

Imagine we are at a small county rodeo grounds. Everyone who came rode their best and wait to hear what the judges say. Then a boy walks out on to the stage in the arena accompanied by a large, white dog in a service vest. This is not something the boy could have accomplished before he had his dog. This is the dog that works on-call 24/7. This is a scene where we imagine the greatest trophy of the day goes to Noah and Appa. A boy and his dog.

The first-ever flash fiction contest at Carrot Ranch was part of a larger “Four Paws for Noah” fundraiser for Noah Ainslie, a nine-year-old boy with Autism who is in the process of receiving a service dog. Appa is with him and continues training. Contest entries went to support the continued care and training of Appa. Be sure to follow updates on Noah’s GoFundMe website. It’s an unfolding story of two winners you don’t want to miss.

Now the drum and four white horses circle the grounds, running their steeds with confidence and showmanship. The crowd erupts into cheers. Each ride supports a national flag that snaps in the wind — two American flags, one from the UK and one from Australia. Ladies and gentlemen, Carrot Ranch proudly presents our Contest Judges:

Norah Colvin, educator extraordinaire from Australia.

Pat Cummings, ghostwriter with flair from the US.

Geoff Le Pard, prolific blogger and novelist from the UK.

Sarah Brentyn, thought bubblist and anthology editor from the US.

These four judges gave of their time and commitment to review the entries, score each each one and give thoughtful feedback on the process. They each deserve a big round of applause for the ride they gave to select contest winners. They were thorough, thoughtful and timely with their efforts. The Lead Buckaroo served as official score-keeper and relied on the judges for their guidance in selecting the top prizes.

It’s always a brave act to ride out into the rodeo arena. Many of our contestants showed up because they believed in the spirit of the contest — to support a boy and his dog. Several contestants were our very own Carrot Ranch Congress of Rough Writers. And many were writers from near and far who had never visited the ranch before. We thank each and every contestant for their entries and efforts. It’s never easy to judge a contest of writing. We did our best to develop a fair and blind scoring, aiming for stories that best exemplified the uplifting spirit of the contest. The judges never knew who the contestants were until after the winners were selected. Now, I bet you want to know!

Drum roll, again…from our first rodeo contest it is our pleasure to announce two Honorable Mentions who will be published in the RoundUp and here at Carrot Ranch (follow the title links to read).

Casper by Corwin Holzman-Crass 

William in Chattanooga by Elly Finzer

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Now for our prize winners who will receive the following

  • Third Place Prize: $25 cash award and copy of Because You Asked goes to Freedom for a Boy and His Dog by Anne Penniston Grunsted 
  • Second Place Prize: $50 award and a signed copy of Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle to The Trampoline by Allison Maruska
  • First Place Prize: $250 cash award and a copy of If You Want to Write to Free by Pete Fanning

Winners will also be featured here at Carrot Ranch and in the RoundUp.

Thank you to everyone who participated — your generosity and efforts make you all winners at Carrot Ranch!

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