In the hour leading up to the Liars Contest, the judges have an opportunity to display their talents while audience members sign up to participate. Here is husband and wife storytelling team Marc and Cheryl Harshman performing together.
A children's librarian, Cheryl Harshman started storytelling to get children more interesting in reading. Here she tells the story of Epaminondas (from the story "Epaminondas and his Auntie").
Marc Harshman lives in Wheeling, WV, which is on the banks of the Ohio River. This story tells about how the Ohio River was discovered.
A man of many titles and talents, The Earl of Elkview (George Daughtery) plays 'Oh Dannyboy' on the saw. Professionally a lawyer, 'The Earl' is also an accomplished storyteller, banjo, guitar, and saw player.
Some of the most successful tales at the contest tread that fine line between the real and the absurd, leaving their audiences to figure out which is which. Scott Hill, a recruiter for the Red Cross, competes for the prize telling a tale from Upright, WV about 'The Mastadane'.
Reverend John Wyatt, 'The Appalachian' from Rainelle, WV tells 'Loaded for Bear'. He learned this tale from his father, who in turn had learned it at a Vandalia Gathering many years prior.
Somewhere along the way, the organizers of the contest noticed that some of the most eager participants were children. In reaction, they made a youth liar category and a smaller golden shovel for the Biggest Youth Liar. Elle Lepp tells "The Bear and the Bird" in front of a packed house.
Third Place 'Big Liar' winner, Bud Anderson rode in on a motorcycle to tell this "Fractured Fable". He was also one of the only contestants to use props in is tale, including a variety of hats, frisbees, and footballs.
Second place 'Bigger Liar' winner Pete Kosky tells a tale involving a common divide: West Virginia vs. Ohio. Being neighboring states, a variety of material comes out of this rift, but this has to be one of the better ones I've heard.
The "Biggest Liar" in West Virginia in 2011 was Adam Booth. He won over the crowd with a tale about a church that meets in the strangest of places.