LOGANSPORT — An explosion of applause came from the standing-room only crowd at the Cass County fairgrounds exhibition building Sunday evening as Taylor Miller cupped her hand over mouth in disbelief before walking forward to accept her crown and sash as the newest Cass County fair queen.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “I can’t even believe it right now. All of the girls are wonderful, and I feel so honored to represent Cass County.”
Miss Cass County 2010 Sarah Robertson presented the new queen with her sash and placed the crown on her head.
“Seeing the look on the face when they are crowned,” Robertson said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime dream come true.”
Jillian Bower was crowned Miss Congeniality. First runner-up was Bailey Farrer, second runnerup was Sara Champ, third runnerup was Emily Douglass and fourth runnerup was Lindy Hunt.
Grace Scott, the pageant director, praised all of the contestants.
“They were an extremely outstanding group,” she said. “They were a little reserved at first, but through workshops and community service, they really broke out of their shells.”
While she is looking forward to the coming year, Scott said, she will miss working with Robertson.
“She was an amazing queen,” said Scott.
Robertson was somewhat emotional during the ceremony.
“I have a lot of mixed emotions right now,” she said. “But, I had a great year and have no regrets. I wish the same experience for the 2011 queen.”
Robertson said she was excited to have had the opportunity to represent the community and to follow in the footsteps of so many other young women in the past.
The girls were judged on several factors. The interview was the largest portion of the contest with 40 points counting toward the overall score. Professional wear and the evening gown were both worth 20 points each. The introduction and onstage questions were each worth 10 points.
Each of the girls put in a tremendous amount of time practicing and preparing for the fair. Scott said they work on interview skills, make-up application, modeling and clothing selection months in advance.
Scott pointed out that Miller had experience from last year’s pageant, which perhaps helped her to prepare.
Miller was first runnerup in last year’s competition. She said she had worked really hard to prepare for this year’s contest.
“I tried my best and always told myself winning is not everything,” she said. “To have fun, that’s what’s important.”
When she heard her name called as the winner, Miller said she almost didn’t believe it at first.
“In my mind, I wanted it so much,” she said. “In the end, I was shell shocked.”
Scott said the contest is open to any Cass County female between the ages of 16 and 21. She noted that girls don’t have to participate in the 4-H fair compete in the pageant.
A new Little Miss and Junior Miss Cass County contest was held for the first time this year, with multiple winners. Scott said it was good to get the younger girls involved with the community and hopefully build their confidence to participate in the pageant one day.
For Scott, the Miss Cass County pageant is an important aspect of the fair.
“It’s one of the most attended events at the fair,” she said. “Without the queen contest, we wouldn’t have an ambassador during the fair. We wouldn’t have the beauty and poise. We wouldn’t have the queen to hand out ribbons with a hug and a smile.”
During the next year, Miller will participate in several parades, attend several other county fairs and pageants and participate in the pageant at the state fair.
She will also make appearances at 4-H association events, including pancake day and the fish fry, in addition to other community service events.
For now, Miller is just taking it all in.
“I’m looking forward to just being able to meet more people in the community and make more memories all of this week,” she said.