Performing before an audience in a play or concert, or for judges during a competition, has become old hat for a Columbus East High School senior.
So Bailey Meyer doesn’t expect a case of the jitters as she heads into her latest competition — vying among 87 contestants to be named Indiana State Fair Queen this weekend in Indianapolis.
Bailey, who was crowned in July as Bartholomew County 4-H Fair queen, said she has been preparing — at least mentally — for the state competition since winning the local one six months ago.
“I started thinking about it right then about how I accomplished one of my goals, and could accomplish another by placing at state,” she said.
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State Fair Queen competition begins today with each of the contestants going through private three-minute interviews at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Interview scores will account for 50 percent of each contestant’s initial score.
The open competition begins 5 p.m. Saturday in the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
Candidates will be judged Saturday — Bailey’s 18th birthday — on a one-minute prepared speech on a subject of their choice, accounting for 10 percent of their score; plus professional wear, 20 percent; and formal wear, 20 percent.
The top 16 contestants will be announced toward the beginning of Sunday’s competition, which begins at 1 p.m. The Indiana State Fair Queen and her court will be announced at the conclusion of Sunday’s finals.
The 10-year local 4-H member said she hopes to be one of the top 10 finishers — and her entourage will include about 30 family members or friends who plan to attend.
“I’d love to win, but there are so many great girls competing that I’ll be happy whatever the outcome is,” she said.
Bailey made the Bartholomew County Fair Queen Court during her first attempt at age 16, placing as third-runner-up. Her sister, Mallory, now 20 and a student at Purdue, was first runner-up that year.
In preparing for this weekend’s competition, Bailey has been working on her one-minute speech, which will have a religious theme.
“It will be a little bit about the best life lessons — and those that are not only taught, but experienced, and how God has a different purpose for all of us,” said Bailey, a member of the youth group at St. John’s White Creek Lutheran Church, southwest of Columbus.
“I knew that I wanted to make it about God in some way, because I wouldn’t be in this position without him,” she said.
As a performer, Bailey had a role during her sophomore year in the Columbus East Drama Department production of “Cinderella.”
She also has performed in the annual “American Pie” concert each of her first three years of high school, and will audition in the spring for this year’s concert.
But before then, Bailey will fulfill another ambition by auditioning to appear on NBC’s “The Voice” television show, traveling to Chicago for Jan. 21 first-round regional competition.
If she can make it through that round, she would advance to second-round competition in California. Contestants who advance from the second round get a chance to perform on the television show and work with coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys.
The alto singer said she has been practicing a few songs for her “Voice” audition, but hasn’t picked one just yet.
“I’m looking for one that matches my voice exactly,” she said.
Even though her local county fair queen responsibilities ended at the conclusion of last year’s 4-H fair, Bailey said she thinks about the responsibility of setting a positive example every day, which she plans to continue this weekend.
Age: Turns 18 on Saturday.
Parents: Mark Meyer and Shannon Garrison
School: Senior at Columbus East High School, made the first quarter dean’s list.
Future ambitions: Attend Ivy Tech Community College Columbus in the fall to study elementary education and perhaps become an agriculture teacher/FFA adviser, have a family farm and kids to run around on it, and singing including auditioning for “The Voice.”
Activities and organizations: Class representative; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; C4 ambassador; “American Pie” soloist; past District XI FFA treasurer; Columbus FFA president; freshman orientation speaker; photography; fashion; national FFA; Bartholomew County 4-H; Bartholomew County Junior Leaders; White Creek Needlers 4-H Club vice president; member of youth group at St. John’s White Creek Lutheran Church southwest of Columbus.
Hobbies and interests: Advocating for agriculture; singing and playing guitar; hanging out with her friends and family; running FFA events; working with her animals; giving advice and being the peacemaker.
Employment: Part-time sales associate at Abercrombie & Fitch, Edinburgh Premium Outlets.
WHERE: Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis.
JUDGING: Preliminary competition 5 p.m. Saturday; top 16 contestants advance to Sunday’s finals competition starting at 1 p.m. Doors open one hour ahead of time each day.
TICKETS: Admission is $10 for age 6 and older, available through ticketmaster.com
PARKING: Available on the state fairgrounds property for $5.