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July 18, 2010

Brown to reign over 4-H Fair

Winner aspires to be role model

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — Autumn Brown remembers looking up to Madison County 4-H queens as a youngster and said she always hoped she’d be the one that the young girls looked up.

Her dream was realized Sunday night when she was named queen during the 4-H Queen Pageant.

“I’ve wanted this so long,” Brown said. “I’ve always wanted to be that role model that the little girls looked up to.”

She was one of 11 contestants for this year’s 4-H queen. Erica Martin was first-runner up while Ashtin Stewart was second-runner up. Shelby Rasnake was named Miss Congeniality by the other contestants.  Rachel Clark was the non-finalist who received the award for best professional wear, and Kayla Crisp was the non-finalist to win for best evening wear.

Brown, 17, of Pendleton is the daughter of Rodney and Faith Brown and is a member of the Pendleton Livestock 4-H Club. She has been in 4-H for nine years.

Before the pageant began Olivia Kitts was backstage sitting down comfortably talking with two other 4-H’ers as the contestants nervously talked and laughed. The 2009 Madison County 4-H queen went through all the nerves and last-minute makeup and hair adjustments last year and said she knew what the girls were going through Sunday.

“I know right now they are very nervous,” she said with a smile. “I’ve tried to give them advice like wearing things they feel comfortable and confident in and to do just their best.”

Kitts said she discovered a newfound respect for Madison County and was very proud to be a part of it and represent it. Her goal as queen was to promote 4-H and confidence in young women throughout Madison County and she thinks she did just that during her reign.

“Having been in 4-H for 10 years it was a very important part of my life, so it meant a lot to be able to promote the program,” she said. “I’m going to miss this.”

Pageant co-chairwoman Patty Riggs said she was very proud of each of the contestants and that they’d done a wonderful job. She herself was the queen 40 years ago.

“This pageant is very dear to me because I know what it means to represent 4-H all week at the fair and to hand out those ribbons,” she said. “I love the looks on the girls’ faces the best.”

They were judged earlier Sunday on evening and professional wear as well as being judged on those categories during the pageant. The interview Sunday afternoon counted for 50 percent of their final scores.

Another factor in judging was the impromptu question asked during the competition. The question asked the contestants how they would apply the lessons they learned in 4-H to their lives after leaving 4-H.

Martin said that 4-H has taught her so much, especially about making friends and achieving goals she sets for herself.

“It has taught me to keep going no matter what happens,” she said. “Do your best. That’s all you can do.”

Contact Abbey Doyle, 640-4805, abbey.doyle@heraldbulletin.com.

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