Betty McNary started working on a quilt three years ago; doing embroidery that gave her something to do with her hands. At the time, she was in her early 90s and living in Mesa.
This year, at 95, she finished the quilt with the help of her daughter, Pat, and entered it in the 12th annual Strawberry Patchers' Quilt Show.
McNary's quilt, "Home and Harvest" was selected as Best of Show through 3,743 votes cast by visitors to the exhibit in the Cultural Hall at the Pine Community Center, June 6, 7 and 8. Her win, at 95, shows you can be a champion at any age.
McNary now resides in Payson and built the quilt through a block-of-the month quilt project provided to her by her daughter, Pat.
Kathy MacCleary won the other top honor at the show, the Arizona Quilters Guild Hall of Fame award with "Scrap Happy," which also won first place in the Medium Hand Quilted category.
More than 900 people attended the show, including a group from Germany that planned their trip to specifically be at the show, having seen it before.
"It was more than we were expecting. We had several bus loads here," said Elaine Putnam, who coordinated the show.
About $1,500 was raised through admission fees, Putnam said. That money will be donated to charities in the Pine and Strawberry area and in Payson, she said.
There were 86 entries vying for Best of Show honors, as well as ribbons in the 10 different categories.
The categories and winners were:
Art Quilts: first, "It's Not Easy Bein' Green," Georgia Thorne; second, "Turkish Bazaar," Rose Ann Self; third, "Linda's Flower Garden," Sandy Phillips.
Small Hand Quilted: first, "Apple Core," Jinny Kost; second, "Fractured Squares," Kathy MacCleary; third, "Dolphin Buddy," Elaine Putnam.
Medium Hand Quilted: first, "Scrap Happy," Kathy MacCleary; second, "Red Tumbling Blocks," Kathy MacCleary.
Small Amateur Push-Thru Machine Quilted: first, "Home and Harvest," Betty McNary; second, "Batik Guitars," Nancy Houghten; third, "Red Dresses for My Heart," Mitzi Paul.
Medium Amateur Push-Thru Machine Quilted: first, "Storm at Sea," Linda Perkins; second, "Christmas Snuggles," Shar McGuire; third, "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend," Carol Christian.
Large Amateur Push-Thru Machine Quilted: first, "Twas The Night Before Christmas," Nancy Miller; second, "Pennsylvania Pineapple," Mary Dickson; third, "Circle of Friends," Alyce Leach.
All Professional Long-Arm Machine Quilted: first, "Mexican Stars," Monika Hancock; second, "Team Players," Monika Hancock; third, "Octagon Copper Penny," Connie Marco.
Medium Professional Long-Arm Machine Quilted: first, "Carnival," Debbie Stanton; second, "Ouch," Connie Marco; third, "Southwest Pineapple," Ruth Fulton.
Large Professional Long-Arm Machine Quilted: first, "Garden Wedding," Brenda Cornell; second, "Stars of the Southwest," Caroline R. Johnson; third, "Heirloom Romance," Patty McKinney; third, "Pups In My Life," Brenda Dickinson.
Wearables: first, "Desert Fusion," Leslie Peacock; second, "Southwestern Jacket," Nancy Miller; third, "Oriental Gold," Nancy Houghten.
The 12th annual Strawberry Patchers Quilt Show was made possible with the assistance of the following sponsors: A Touch of The Hand, Bashas', Blue's Gallery, The Carpenter's Wife, Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty - Pine, Creative Quilting by Debbie Stanton, Don and Monika Hancock, Diane Roeder Massage & Yoga Studio, Elaine's Embroidery by Elaine Putnam, H.B.'s Place, Mazatzal Hotel & Casino, Moose Mountain Gifts & Antiques, Pine Creek Fudge & Ice Cream, Pine Deli, Pine Verde Foods LLC, PostNet, Quilter's Outpost, Safeway, Take Pride, and The Randall House.