The 80th annual Bucklin Homecoming kicked off Aug. 2 in Bucklin City Park and featured three days of events and fun for the community.

Three area bands, bingo, homemade food and pies, homecoming parade and other performances kept the people of Bucklin entertained from Thursday to Saturday.

The 80th annual Bucklin Homecoming began with a welcome from the Bucklin American Legion Post No. 57 honor guard. The night continued with the crowning of the Bucklin Little Prince and Princess, Bucklin Junior Miss and the Bucklin Homecoming Queen coronation.

All of the participants showed the judges they had what it takes to wear the crown. This year’s Bucklin Little Princess was Beonka Anders, the Bucklin Little Prince was chosen as Kayden Weimer. The Bucklin Junior Miss had six entrants from the area. The second runner-up was Savannah Haun, the first runner-up was Izabelle Lucas and the Bucklin Junior Miss was Hailey Herington. Lucas was also picked by her peers as Miss Congeniality. The Bucklin Homecoming Queen had three area entrants. The second runner-up was Ashlynn Jones, the first runner-up was Maddie Burns and the 2018 Bucklin Homecoming Queen and Miss Congeniality was Amelia Liebhart.

The judges for the event came from a judges pool from the surrounding area. They included three Atlanta, Mo. residents. The judges were Crystal Pickens, Mati Pinkston and Mae Graham. Pickens has been judging such competitions for the past four years. Pinkston was chosen as the Atlanta Homecoming Queen and Miss Congeniality earlier this summer.

According to Pickens, she was looking for a few qualities.

“For the Little Prince and Little Princess I look for who’s cute and comfortable on stage,” Pickens said. “For queen, I’m looking for maturity and how they answer their question.”

Liebhart was asked during the competition where she sees herself in the future.

“In the future I see myself as being a great role model especially to my nephew,” Liebhart said. “It’s something that is very important to me.”

Events kept going Aug. 2 with a performance from the band Helen Russell and Company.

Aug. 3, the homecoming started back up with a welcome from the Bucklin American Legion and performance from the YMCA Blaze All Stars. The cheerleading group took the stage in front of the food stand at 6:15 p.m. The cheerleading program consisted of individual talents as well as group work making cheerleading formations. The young cheerleaders jumped, flipped and danced in front of the audience for their routine.

The traveling group is sponsored by the YMCA and features about 25 members as young as 4 years old, up to 15 years old. Last year the group traveled as far as Branson, Mo. and St. Louis for competitions.

Shelby Shoemaker one of the cheerleading coaches says the routine came together quickly.

“We met last night and worked for about an hour and a half to get the routine together,” Shoemaker said.

Milan rockers The Rikers took the stage promptly at 7 p.m. after the Blaze All Stars. The three-piece family band kicked their set off with, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” by Queen.

Bass player Steve Riker said they almost didn’t make the performance.

“Right before we left I got caught in the fly trap next to the trashcan,” Riker said. “I had to get my wife to cut me loose.”

The homecoming also featured bingo and a raffle provided by American Legion Post No. 57 and the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 57. The items available for the raffle included a handmade quilt, artwork featuring the Star Spangled Banner and a wooden sign made by American Legion member Leighton Reed. The American Legion Auxiliary and Post also held their 11th annual 3K/5K Saturday morning.

The Bucklin Homecoming continued with the annual homecoming parade and another live performance Aug. 4. The parade kicked off at 1 p.m. and featured local residents, the Homecoming Queen, Junior Miss and 80 years of precious memories. The band Rock and Roll Revival ended the celebration with a concert that night.

For many residents, Bucklin Homecoming is a time for everyone to enjoy their community. Many attendees have been coming back year-after-year for the fun, food and togetherness.

Bucklin resident Mark McClamroch says he’s been around the community for a while.

“I won’t say I’ve been coming to Homecoming for 40 years, but I’ve been around for 40 years,” McClamroch said.

Bucklin resident Wilma Jobson says she always comes back home.

“This is my home,” Jobson said. “Since it’s my home I have to come back.”

Bucklin Mayor Doug Anders says Bucklin Homecoming is a time for the whole community.

“Homecoming is a Bucklin tradition,” Anders said. “You get to see people you don’t often get to see, meet new people. It’s family fun for everyone. The whole town pulls together for this event.”