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Kristians Pelss Wins A Ribbon At The Oklahoma State Fair

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How a snapshot of Kristians Pelss became an award winner.

A wonderful tribute wins for being a beautiful photo
A wonderful tribute wins for being a beautiful photo
Both photos by Candace Riley, all rights reserved

Regular readers know Candace Riley through her remarkable photographs of the Oklahoma City Barons, which she graciously shares with the writing staff here so that we may bring to life our thoughts and snippets about the Oilers' AHL team. She's a die-hard Barons' fans and season ticket holder, an outstanding photographer and a wonderfully genuine person. It was Candace who gifted a spotlight photograph of Teemu Hartikainen to me, and later got him to sign the photo at a season ticket holders event. It remains my most cherished piece of hockey memorabilia.

Candace has provided photos for our favorite stories: from Davidson's return from cancer, to everything Hartikainen-related.

This year, Candace decided to enter her Barons' pictures in the Oklahoma State Fair's amateur photography competition. "The best I've ever placed in the photography competition is 3 honorable mentions, so I wasn't expecting much," said Riley. " I was able to get Barons pics in 4 different categories, one of which was People/Portraits."

She entered the Kristians Pelss photo from above. "I wanted to enter one of Kristians Pelss in that one, and frankly I didn't care if I coughed up a chance to place. I just wanted a simple way to honor him, even if no one judging the photos knew that's what was going on."

The judges didn't know anything about Pelss' story, but it didn't matter. The photo took 5th place out of over 200 submissions. Riley was shocked, "Not one of my other photos placed, including two that everyone who saw them thought were [award winners]."

"The one I thought wouldn't get anywhere, or earn me anything, gave me my only ribbon," said Riley. A perfect sentiment for both the man and the photo.

Follow the award-winning Candace Riley through her photos here and on Twitter @SoonerPenguin