Local young women seek title in 60th annual Bartholomew County 4-H Fair

Fifteen young women will compete for the coveted title of Bartholomew County 4-H Fair queen and a chance to represent the county in statewide competition.

The queen competition always is fun, but it also helps participants as they prepare for the future, said Ellen Harker, a fair queen committee member.

“The interview is a great learning tool for scholarship interviews, job interviews and things like that,” Harker said.

A capacity crowd is expected to fill Columbus North High School’s Judson Erne Auditorium at 7 p.m. Sunday, which is one of the first events for this year’s fair. The 60th annual Bartholomew County 4-H Fair is planned July 7 through 15.

A panel of judges from outside Bartholomew County will select the 2017 fair queen, determining the winner based on the girls’ professional wear and evening gown competitions, in addition to a three-minute interview.

The winner also will receive a $500 scholarship from MainSource Bank.

“The judges will be getting to know the girls, their personality, the types of things they’re interested in,” Harker said.

Allison Roberts, last year’s Miss Congeniality, is the only member of the 2016 Bartholomew County 4-H Fair Queen’s court returning for this year’s competition. Claudia Sims, who will be a senior at Columbus Signature Academy-New Tech, is also making a return to the fair queen competition for the second year in a row.

Sims and others attended an informational meeting this week at the fair office of the Bartholomew 4-H County Fairgrounds, where participants received tips about what to expect from Becca Lax, who was crowned 2017 Indiana State Fair Queen in January.

Lax, a Purdue University sophomore, was previously named Miss Vanderburgh County and plans to visit 47 different county fairs this summer as part of her responsibilities as state fair queen.

Sims said although she was nervous last year during the judges’ interview, she feels more prepared this year.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a queen someday, and I set that goal for myself way back when,” Sims said. “Overall, I’ve learned from my mistakes and feel like I’m coming back with more knowledge.”

Cheyanne Hodson, who will be a senior at Columbus North, said she was encouraged by a former competitor, Abby Jones, to enter the competition. Hodson said she is using the experience as a way to gain more confidence and to make new friends.

“I’ve definitely talked to people I’ve never seen or talked to before,” Hodson said. “I thought about all the good things that would come out of it and just do it.”

Hodson said she is a bit nervous about being in the spotlight but said she just wants to have a good time regardless of the final outcome.

“It will be a fun day,” Hodson said.

Contestants are learning and practicing a group dance number planned during the competition with the song “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast.”

The contest theme, “The Wonderful World of Food,” follows a similar theme for this year’s Indiana State Fair. Organizers also are planning to recognize past fair queens during the competition, Harker said.

The judges also will ask questions tied to the food theme during the competition, including each contestant’s favorite food or what they like to cook. The on-stage questions help judges determine each contestant’s on-stage presence and overall ability to speak in public, she said.

The pageant winner and her court appear at events throughout the fair, including the demolition derby, a children’s baking contest and livestock shows. “The fair is their job that week. It’s a long week, but it’s a lot of fun,” Harker said.

Harker, who was first runner-up during the 1995 competition, said fair queen committee members all enjoy the overall experience of the pageant.

“We just enjoy working with these young ladies and sharing our passion for the fair,” Harker said.

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Alisha Adams

Age: 18City: Columbus

Education: Purdue University freshman in agriculture communications

Sponsor: Esquire Hair Design

Parents: Susan Grossman and Danny Adams

Future ambitions: Public relations for an agriculture company

Activities/organizations: Four years participating in FFA and serving as an officer for the organization, District XI reporter, volleyball and Best Buddies

Hobbies and interests: Listening to music, drawing and hiking

Christina Claycamp

Age: 19City: Columbus

Education: Purdue University sophomore

Sponsor: Common Threads Home Ec Club

Parents: Brian and Michele Claycamp

Future ambitions: Become a large-animal veterinarian

Activities/organizations: Sigma Alpha sorority, Purdue Dairy Club, 4-H member for 10 years, FFA

Hobbies and interests: Playing volleyball and helping on the family farm, especially with the cows

Riley Coers

Age: 16City: Columbus

Education: Columbus East High School junior

Sponsor: Coers Family Eye Care

Parents: Brad and Carey Coers

Future ambitions: Study pre-medicine and major in biology or chemistry and then attend medical school to become a cardiologist.

Activities/organizations: Varsity cheerleading, Key Club, Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, Health Occupations Students of America

Hobbies and interests: Cheerleading, volunteering, working and photography

Tanna Coombs

Age: 19City: Hope

Education: Ivy Tech Community College sophomore

Sponsor: Laverene Sorrells Photography

Parents: Don and Lisa Coombs

Future ambitions: Obtain a degree in agricultural business and continue growing the family’s cattle herd

Activities/organizations: FFA Alumni, 10-year 4-H member, varsity cheerleading, Students Against Drunk Driving

Hobbies and interests: Helping on the farm and traveling

Lydia Doughty

Age: 18City: Columbus

Education: Hope College freshman

Sponsor: Clay Township Kids 4-H Club

Parents: Jamie and Ryan Doughty

Future ambitions: Pursuing a double major in biology and French. After college, apply to medical school to become a doctor.

Activities/organizations: Cheerleading, track and field, National Honor Society, French National Honor Society, cadet teacher, volunteer, homecoming and prom court

Hobbies and interests: Skeet and sport clay shooting, hunting, science and studying French

Elizabeth Elliot

Age: 18City: Columbus

Education: Purdue University freshman

Sponsor: Boyer Machine & CSA Design

Parents: David and Judy Elliot

Future ambitions: Major in computer science and eventually be an entrepreneur

Activities/organizations: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Spanish Club, Teen Republicans Club, National Honor Society, Youth Leadership Bartholomew County

Hobbies and interests: Cheerleading, crafting, singing, math and debating

Sarah Hayes

Age: 19City: Columbus

Education: IUPUC sophomore

Sponsor: Boyer Machine, Circle K and Vivian Lou

Parents: Alan and Melissa Hayes

Future ambitions: Own a large-animal vet clinic and stay involved in 4-H by becoming a leader

Activities/organizations: Passion for music, traveled through seven countries in Europe performing American music.

Hobbies and interests: Farm animals and helping on a local farm.

Cheyanne Hodson

Age: 17City: Columbus

Education: Columbus North High School senior

Sponsor: 4-H Flames

Parents: Jamie Young and Reginald Hodson II

Future ambitions: Study criminal justice or social work in college or become a firefighter

Activities/organizations: Softball, yearbook, photography, 4-H Flames

Hobbies and interests: Photography and softball

Kyra Jessie

Age: 19City: Columbus

Education: IUPUC sophomore

Sponsor: Bunny Bunch 4-H Club and Schafstall, Inc.

Parents: Aaron and Regina Jessie

Future ambitions: Obtain a degree in health sciences and be the leader of a 4-H Club someday

Activities/organizations: IUPUC student ambassador, 10-year 4-H member, 2016 Supreme Showman, FFA, the Great Sunflower Project

Hobbies and interests: Gardening and taking care of livestock

Alaysha Pollert

Age: 18City: Seymour

Education: Ball State University freshman

Sponsor: Hughes & Hughes, Allstate

Parents: Richard and Joetta Pollert

Future ambitions: Major in nutrition and dietetics and become a dietitian at a children’s hospital

Activities/organizations: Four-year varsity volleyball player at Columbus East, member of National Honor Society and student government

Hobbies and interests: Volunteering, hanging out at the lake

Allison Roberts

Age: 19City: Columbus

Education: Marian University sophomore

Sponsor: The Kroot Corp.

Parents: Mike and Choniti Roberts

Future ambitions: Earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing in 2021. Earn master’s and doctor of nursing degrees and become a nurse anesthetist.

Activities/organizations: 21st century Marian University mentor, Marian University Craft Club, Circle K Club

Hobbies and interests: Cooking, baking, crafting, landscaping, gardening, NASCAR

Jenna Shoaf

Age: 17City: Hope

Education: Columbus East High School senior

Sponsor: Columbus FFA, Shoaf Honey Farm

Parents: Cammille and Julius Shoaf

Future ambitions: 4-year college degree in agribusiness

Activities/organizations: FFA, 4-H, National Honor Society, tennis

Hobbies and interests: Agriculture, music, singing, adventuring, traveling, sports

Claudia Sims

Age: 17City: Columbus

Education: Columbus Signature Academy-New Tech senior

Sponsor: QuickSigns

Parents: Chad and Debbie Sims.

Future ambitions: Major in animal sciences at Purdue University to become an animal nutritionist.

Activities/organizations: Member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, 4-H member for nine years, Junior Leaders, Feathered Friends Poultry Club, FFA, Student Ambassador, National Honor Society, BCSC prom committee, dean’s list

Hobbies and interests: Playing softball and basketball for Columbus East, showing animals at the fair, watching professional bull riding

Taylor Smith

Age: 18City: Columbus

Education: University of Indianapolis freshman

Sponsor: Fisher’s Flower Basket

Parents: Allen and Frankie Smith

Future ambitions: A career in physical therapy or sports medicine

Activities/organizations: Swimming, track and field, golf, student government

Hobbies and interests: Church youth group, dancing, fishing

Madelyn Steinwedel

Age: 17City: Columbus

Education: Columbus East High School senior

Sponsor: L&M Glick Seed

Parents: Matthew and Jennifer Steinwedel

Future ambitions: College undecided/pediatric nurse

Activities/organizations: 4-H, Big Brothers Big Sisters, National Honor Society

Hobbies and interests: 4-H, working in food science at the hospital

If you go

What: Bartholomew County 4-H Fair Queen Contest

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m

Where: Judson Erne Auditorium at Columbus North High School, 1400 25th St.

Admission: $3. Attendees are asked to bring a canned good item, which will be donated to Love Chapel.

Information: Visit bartholomewcountyfair.com


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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com