Last Saturday I saw a young lady exhibit poise and grace way beyond her 17 years.
She is Chelsea Wilson, the 2013 Greene County Fair Queen, and the reason I can make that observation is that I was one of two judges who selected this year’s crown bearer.
It wasn’t a difficult decision because Chelsea was the only candidate. A second young lady removed herself from the competition prior to Saturday’s judging, but Chelsea did not know she would be going it alone until moments before she walked into the lower floor of the 4-H Building at the fairgrounds. She came prepared to go head-to-head with another girl, and I would suspect that having been told moments before sitting down in front of me and my fellow judge, Lena Galing, that she won the crown more or less by default, might have had something to do with boosting her confidence level and lessening her anxiety level.
But frankly, I don’t think it matters one whit whether she was competing alone or against two, five or 10 others. I honestly believe from what I saw, she would have been a strong contender no matter what the competition pool was, and this comes from someone who has only judged what has been written on a computer screen or on paper.
This “pageant” began when Chelsea came into the room alone for the personal interview part of the process. Lena and I began to pepper her with questions gleaned from information on her bio sheet and from her essay. We were not just going through the motions because Chelsea needed to have the personal interview, give her three-minute speech and answer and impromptu question – all in preparation for the state fair queen pageant early next year. If nothing more, valuable lessons would be learned.
Once Lena and I completed the interview, Chelsea returned upstairs to don her evening dress (very age-appropriate, I might add) come back and present her speech. Then it was time for that impromptu question, which we were told beforehand to focus on agriculture “because that’s what they usually ask at state.”
She fumbled a little, but so have 18- to 20-somethings competing in Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Universe, Miss World, etc.
Once she was crowned and photos taken, Lena and I thought we should offer her some tips, (OK, criticism), strangely enough from two people who have never stood before strangers and a room full of people and come across as if we were talking to the mirror in a bathroom.
What impressed me most about Chelsea was not how well she presented her speech, or how her innocence or inexperience did not reduce her to tears when she ran into difficulty with the question, but how willingly and openly she accepted the suggestions Lena and I offered. Chelsea will compete against other girls, many other girls, in the state competition. If she masters her speech, which was aided by some innovative props, by referring to her notes very sparingly, and does some Internet research on farm- and agriculture-related issues, she has all the makings to become Pennsylvania’s new fair queen.
I realize that the young lady who won the Miss Jacktown Fair Queen title also will compete at the state level. Unfortunately, I was not at that pageant and I can only speak to what I saw firsthand. All I can say is good luck to both girls from Greene County.