By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Sparkly crowns and silky sashes took their new homes amongst the 2019 Tucker County Fair pageant winners on Tuesday night to kick off the best week of the summer. Eleven young ladies competed for the crown in three categories, Junior Fair Queen, Teen Fair Queen, and finally Queen Daphne. Vying for the junior title was Alicia Barb, Joanna Leary, Johnna Mullenax, Holly Myers, and Rileigh Russell. Laney Burns and Hannah Cussins competed for the teen title, while Shelby Beavers, Autumn Knotts, Katelyn Myers, and Haley Tibbs entered the Queen Daphne division.
Beki Bonner served as the emcee for the main attraction as she introduced each young lady to come out and provide their fair promotion for those in the crowd. Each entrant provided their own twist on an infomercial to entice others to attend the Tucker County Fair. From altering the words to Herman the Worm to blowing off a romantic date to go to the fair, these young ladies had the crowd cheering for more as they provided their promotions one by one. Afterwards, while the girls were changing in the back, the 2018 Junior Queen Emily Spackman and 2018 Teen Queen Kaylyn Crossland recited their fair promos from their pageant last year. Daniele Wilfong, pageant coordinater for the second year, also took this opportunity to introduce the judges for the evening, Pat Calain, Beth Brenwatd, and Jessica Snodgrass.
The girls returned dressed in their casual wear before entertainment was provided by Delaney Rhoades. As the contestants quickly changed into their evening gowns, the 2018 queens were asked by Bonner what their favorite part of being fair royalty was. Crossland stated volunteering and being involved in her community was her favorite and Spackman enjoyed doing the parades. She also informed the upcoming queens to, “Have fun and enjoy it while it lasts.” Wilfong then recapped the upcoming events for the week of the fair before the entrants returned in their gowns to answer an on stage question.
First was Barb who was asked her most important lesson learned thus far? “To always be confident in myself,” she replied. Leary emerged from the back in her gown and was asked what her greatest accomplishment has been. “Taking my rabbit to the fair,” she responded. Mullenax was next and was asked her favorite foods, which she said, “French fries.” As Myers glided across the stage, she was asked for an example of one thing that motivates her. “Definitely my friends and family,” said Myers. To round out the junior division was Russell who was asked her most cherished childhood memory. “Going to Columbus, Ohio,” she responded promptly.
This lead to the two teen contestants with Burns being addressed first. She was asked what the word can’t means. “It means you don’t believe in yourself,” she said after a moment to think about this difficult question. Cussins was asked when she feels the most confident. “When I’m around my friends and family,” she answered.
Beavers lead the way for the Queen Daphne portion of the evening gown and on stage questions, being asked how she hoped to influence her friends. “I hope they believe in theirselves as I believe in myself,” she said. Knotts was asked what quality she admired most about her parents. “I admire their strictness and assertiveness,” she said, acknowledging that is what made her the person she is today. Myers stepped on the stage and Bonner asked her how she faces challenges. “Head on,” Myers stated as she explained she prefers to address challenges full force. Tibbs finished the Queen Daphne division of evening gowns and questions being asked how she balances school and extracurricular activities. “I try to find balance by planning out my day,” she commented as she used the example of upcoming weeks and how she stays organized.
Former queens Spackman and Crossland took their final walks before the judges tallied their scores to determine the 2019 crown recipients. Before announcing the queens, they awarded Miss Photogenic to Tibbs and Miss Congeniality to Cussins. Finally, after the contestants relaxed on stage to some dance tunes provided by DJ Daniel Barkley, it was time for the crown to be placed upon the 2019 winners’ head. The winner of the Junior Tucker County Fair Queen was Rileigh Russell. Laney Burns was crowned the Teen Fair Queen while Shelby Beavers was awarded the crown and sash as the 2019 Tucker County Fair Queen Daphne.
2019 Tucker County Fair pageant participants anxiously awaiting the results from the judges
“There was a really great turnout for both pageants, this year,” commented Wilfong. “I’m ecstatic with all the participants who came out to participate in both the Queens and Children’s Pageant at the Tucker County Fair,” she said. “I am proud of each and every one of the participants, they all did a phenomenal job and I know I would not have wanted to be the judges at either pageant,” she added. “I am very excited to work with the three queens throughout the year representing the Tucker County Fair and I hope everybody comes back next year.”