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First Place

Justin Wood

Kanawha County

I’m not here to tell a story to win as much as I am to do it as a public service to those who might win this year. See, last year, I won this shovel for the youth contest — this beautiful Golden Shovel — and I was so happy at the time. But soon after, it became too much. The fame became too much. I mean, you don’t know what it’s like to be famous until you’ve won a liars contest. All the interviews, all the press always there, the paparazzi. The drugs got [to be] too much — the lie enhancing drugs — they were everywhere for me. And the groupies, it was awful. I want whoever’s gonna win next year to know what I went through.

It was sometime in between shooting a public service announcement with Roady the Roadkill Racoon and signing my deal with Nike for the new Air-Liars that I met this girl. This girl, I mean, she had one of those smiles that could stop traffic. Actually, there wasn’t a lot about her that you would take home to your mother, but she seemed to really like me. She seemed to want to know me, Justin — the real Justin — not the liar. But I should have known. She was always asking if she could see the shovel. And when we would go out, [she asked] if I could carry the shovel around. But I was young. I was stupid. How was I supposed to know that she really didn’t like me?

Justin Wood
First-place liar Justin Wood of Kanawha County, with a big smile and two Golden Shovel awards — the small one for winning the youth award and the large one for capturing the overall title of “Biggest Liar.” Photograph by Michael Keller.

Well, soon I found out it wasn’t only the shovel she was after. She was Canadian, too. I didn’t catch on. She was always saying “ehh,” but it just never stuck in my mind. She was part of a Canadian terrorist group, which in Canada isn’t really as much a terrorist group, but more of a bunch of mean people from Canada. They apparently had been kicked out of Canada for littering or maybe cursing or something. But they wanted to take over the Chemical Valley here. And they wanted to use me to spread their lies, to say what they wanted to do, to give their agenda a face.

They took me to their compound, and they told me all these things. She just kept on smiling at me, and I thought it was good. Maybe Canadians are alright. I had no idea how bad they really were.

Then they unveiled their costumes, what they were gonna rule with — these Mountie uniforms that were in blue and gold — and I just couldn’t take it. John Denver started singing in the back of my head, and I realized something. By God, I’m a West Virginian, and I’m not going to let Canadians take over.

I took my Golden Shovel, and I beat my way out of there. They were throwing mayonnaise. They had caribou guarding me, but I took them out, and I battled my way.

The very next day, I came back with an army of fiddlers and banjos and lap dulcimers, and we chased them. We chased them all the way back to the cold, cold north.

And that’s the kind of hardship that you have to go through being a winner of this kind of contest. I want you guys to know that I wouldn’t mind taking it again, because [of what] I’ve already gone through. Some of them, they might not be able to handle it. I’ve already been through it, so don’t feel like you’re giving me a burden. I will do that. That’s the kind of person I am.

But that’s my story. I just want whoever gets this godforsaken Golden Shovel to know what they’re getting into.