As a child, Carson Stone struggled with public speaking. Through his reign as King Buckwheat LXXXI, Stone has seen firsthand the benefit of putting yourself out there despite hesitation, especially for the sake of serving your community.
“I was always very shy. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten less shy, I’ve been talking more in front of people, doing more public speaking,” said Stone. “Then this, I mean, you talk to everybody. It takes you out of your shell if you’re stuck in a place where you can’t really speak to people.”
Stone decided to run for King Buckwheat following encouragement from peers, a long history with the Buckwheat Festival and past leadership roles in extracurriculars. With the rest of the Buckwheat Festival Royalty Court by his side, and the community to support him, it’s been an exciting ride.
“It’s been a great time, we all get along pretty well,” said Stone. A highlight of the experience has been downtime spent with the group during car rides or ice cream stops after parades.
The Buckwheat Festival has always been a feature of Stone’s life, after more than a decade of showing livestock, enjoying amusement rides or taking part in the festival’s parades with sports teams. Now, Stone will add to his Buckwheat Festival memories a year spent supporting the community and representing Preston County.
“[The Buckwheat Festival] means a lot, I’ve done it since I was a baby,” said Stone. “The first memory I have is when I was in kindergarten, I showed in an open show, and then I started getting into market showing when I was nine. I’ve been showing market steers ever since.”
Last year, Stone’s market steer won the Grand Champion Overall Award.
In these months spent attending parades, fairs and volunteer events, Stone has grown more confident in himself and more ambitious to take the next steps towards his goals — even if they’re challenging.
“It’s taught me that stepping out of your boundaries really never hurts, it can only help you,” said Stone.
Stone is a senior at Preston High School where he is a member of the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. Last year, he was Treasurer of the Preston County FFA chapter and he hopes to run for president this year. He is also president of the Lenox Loyal Workers 4-H Club and has been a Junior Board Member of the Preston County Livestock Association for 4 years.