For The Tribune
It was the moment of truth as 17 contestants waited anxiously for the announcement of who would be the 60th annual Jackson County 4-H Fair Queen.
After the winner’s name was called, the reigning queen from 2015, Olivia Huff, passed down her crown to a young lady from Medora.
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It was an exciting moment for 20-year-old Kaitlin McPike as she was named 2016 Jackson County Fair Queen on Sunday night.
The weather for the pageant was hot and humid, but even that could not dampen the new queen’s spirits.
“I am so blessed to be here,” said McPike, “and I have an awesome court for this week.”
The new queen will serve alongside her royal court at the Jackson County Fair as they act as official hostesses for opening ceremonies each evening at the grandstand. They also will attend and participate in many other activities throughout the week.
The court includes first runner-up, Brooke Plummer of Seymour, second runner-up, Lydia Pottschmidt of Seymour, and Miss Congeniality, Elizabeth Lee of Brownstown.
Plummer, 18, said being named first runner-up really took her by surprise.
“I was really happy, and I am grateful for the opportunity,” she said. “I’m super excited for the week.”
Pottschmidt said she wasn’t expecting to be named to the court.
“I was completely shocked when my name was called,” the 20-year-old Purdue University junior said.
“I was thrilled, humbled and really excited.”
Pottschmidt said she had competed in the contest when she was younger but felt her chances were better this time around.
“I wasn’t as prepared then,” she said. “I wasn’t as mature.”
Lee was elated the other 16 contestants liked her well enough to name her Miss Congeniality.
“I’m just so grateful to spend time with these awesome ladies,” Lee said. “It just means so much to me that I have this opportunity.”
Huff said her first piece of advice for McPike would be to enjoy the fair.
“You’re going to see the fair from a completely different side,” the Brownstown woman said. “Make friends with your court.”
Huff said McPike also is going to have a busy year that includes participating in the state fair pageant in January.
“The state fair is one of the best things you’ll do,” Huff said.
She said she met other county fair queens across the state, becoming friends with many of them and spending time attending other county fairs.
McPike spoke with The Tribune after her win to talk about the contest and the fair to come.
Why did you decide to enter the Jackson County Fair Queen contest?
“After many years of coming and watching the fair queen pageant, I always hoped that someday I would get the opportunity to run and if I won, I would be able to represent Jackson County in a positive manner.”
Have you competed in any other pageants?
“I have not competed in any other pageants. I do plan on running for the Indy 500 Princess Festival this year.” (McPike also will be representing Jackson County at the upcoming Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant.)
What do you think will be the most difficult part about being the fair queen?
“The most challenging part will be to take the week completely in and make it to all of the booths and events before the fair ends.”
What will be the most fun?
“I look forward to all of the grandstand events, but especially driving the cars during the demo derby.”
What is your favorite fair food?
“Probably the cheeseburgers at Immanuel or Sauers or the pork barbecue sandwich at the Jackson County Pork Producers. I would finish off the night with a pineapple whip. I could eat one of those ice cream cones every night.”
Do you consider yourself a country girl or a city girl?
“I think I’m still a country girl even though I went off to school to Indianapolis (University of Indianapolis) and I like the city. I’m more comfortable helping out my dad at home or driving down a country road with cornfields on both sides.”
What would you tell anyone who might be considering competing in the fair queen contest next year?
“I would say go out and do it with confidence. Just have a positive mindset. It’s an awesome and fun experience. It was definitely enjoyable going out and meeting other girls in the community that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. If you can out and walk on that stage you are a winner.”
Name: Kaitlin McPike
Education: 2014 graduate of Brownstown Central High School
College: The junior at University of Indianapolis is studying exercise science and physical therapy
Parents: Greg and Andrea McPike
Siblings: Alex 27, and Matthew McPike, 31,
Sponsor: Seymour City Extension Homemakers Club