This year's State Fair of Texas set a record for coupons sold at $52 million. 

This year's State Fair of Texas set a record for coupons sold at $52 million. 

Tom Fox/Staff Photographer

Standing less than a foot tall and weighing about two pounds, Spunky wasn't the biggest competitor at the State Fair of Texas on Sunday.

But the frizzled Malaysian Serama was by far the noisiest. Cock-a-doodle-dooing 29 times in 15 minutes, he won the fair's first-ever rooster crowing contest.

Samantha Sibley, 9, of Burleson cajoled 29 cock-a-doodle-doos out of Spunky, a 3-year-old Malaysian Serama, in 15 minutes to win the State Fair of Texas' first-ever rooster crowing championship.

Samantha Sibley, 9, of Burleson cajoled 29 cock-a-doodle-doos out of Spunky, a 3-year-old Malaysian Serama, in 15 minutes to win the State Fair of Texas' first-ever rooster crowing championship.

Ben Torres/Special Contributor

With owner Samantha Sibley snapping and clapping to cajole each crow out of him, the 3-year-old bird beat six other roosters.

"I was really happy," said Samantha, who helps care for about 50 chickens at her family's home in Burleson. "I didn't think he could pull it off."

The victory marked the end of a successful weekend for 9-year-old Samantha, who won two more awards with another rooster in Saturday's poultry show.

The competition also helped close out a record-setting 24-day run for the fair.

Drawn by cooler weather and performances by Tejano musicians Jay Perez and Emilio, massive crowds swarmed the fairgrounds Sunday.

But the fair doesn't measure attendance in bodies; it counts the number of food and ride coupons it sells.

And by that measure, the fair crushed last year's record of $42 million -- with a new high of $52 million.

"It's officially the most successful fair in the 129-year history," spokeswoman Karissa Condoianis said.

The fair's scholarship fund also set a record, with more than $1.5 million collected through livestock auctions, raffles and other fundraisers.

The state fair's president, Mitchell Glieber, has attributed this year's success to great weather, an emphasis on attracting first-time visitors and the continued "Texification" of the event.

Exhibits highlighted the state's music and Native American tribes, and Texas agriculture also has been getting renewed attention.

"We're putting a more Texan spin on the event so people feel that connection," Glieber said Friday. "I think people will come away feeling like a proud Texan."

Streets leading into Fair Park were jammed Sunday, and long lines stretched throughout the grounds, with queues of as many as 50 people waiting to buy coupons.

"It's been very busy. I wasn't expecting so many people would be here on the last day. I thought they'd have come already," said Jennifer Brown of Frisco, who attended with her husband and two children.

Wisconsin residents C.J. and Jessica Cordell came to Texas to visit relatives, but they couldn't pass up the chance to spend a day at the fair with their three children.

"We just went through all the animal exhibits. Now we're trying to rehydrate the kids," C.J. Cordell said from a shady patch of grass off the midway. "It's definitely a big-time fair."

Carson Stegall, 9, got a high-five from friend Keylan Warren, 16, on Sunday after taking home six awards. It was Carson's first time competing at the fair.

Carson Stegall, 9, got a high-five from friend Keylan Warren, 16, on Sunday after taking home six awards. It was Carson's first time competing at the fair.

Ben Torres/Special Contributor
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