A dozen young women will compete to become Miss Ripley County at the queen's pageant Sunday, July 14 (please see box).

"These girls are a lot of fun and get along very well, probably better than any group we have had before," reports seasoned co-chair Amanda Kunz, Osgood. She and co-chair Monica Hansen, Versailles, have been on the pageant committee for more than 10 years.

What qualities will judges be looking for? "Miss Ripley County should have confidence, poise and she should care about her community," Kunz points out.

The co-chair notes, "This year we have a new scholarship since we have lost one of our own." Kristy Sams, a committee member for the last three or four years, passed away tragically in June. "She was one of the best." A local family will honor Sams by contributing a $250 scholarship. The committee will choose the winner based on her caring and compassionate personality that has been portrayed throughout pageant events, the same qualities for which Sams will be remembered.

Each year the organizers look forward to getting to know the girls and learning their personalities.

The pageant theme, suggested by 2018 Miss Ripley County Alyssa Brinkman, is "Fire and Ice."

Contestants must have a parent residing in Ripley County, attend a Ripley County school or participate in mostly Ripley County events – such as 4-H, sports and church – and must be between 16-21. They cannot have had their 21st birthdays by Jan. 1, 2020.

They are required to participate in four prepageant activities: queen's tea and Queen Bee Slumber Party June 21 at Hansen's home; mock interview night July 10 and pageant rehearsal July 13.

The first gathering "is a good time for us to get to know the girls and for them to get to know each other. Since the girls pick Miss Congeniality, this is the first get-to-know-you event for them," according to Kunz.

Mock interviews prep the entrans for the actual pageant day. "This event is meant to help the girls with their nerves prior to the actual interviews," which happen before the pageant. During the rehearsal, "we will go over the script, do fine tuning to stage walking, use of the microphones, and show the girls what it is like with the lights on."

With Brent Lee as master of ceremonies, the evening will start with the contestants introducing themselves in their hobby wear. Next the young women will model business wear, then formal wear.

A maximum of 100 points are possible in three categories: five-minute interview prior to the pageant, 50 points; business wear, 25 points; and evening gown, 25 points. The onstage question is not judged for points, but could be used in a tie-breaker situation.

Little Miss Ripley County will also be on hand with her court to help pass out programs. Those girls will appear onstage while the judges are making their final selections.

Plaques will be awarded for People's Choice, Best Business Wear, Best Evening Gown and Miss Congeniality before Miss Ripley County is announced.

The newly-crowned queen and her court will receive scholarships, plaques and sashes. All contestants receive gift bags from area businesses.

The queen and her court will perform duties at the Ripley County 4-H Fair July 21-27.

In addition to Kunz and Hansen, the 2019 committee includes Debbie Ertel, Osgood; Sarah Adams, Versailles; Miss Ripley County 2011 Sarah Wenning, Napoleon; 2018 Miss Ripley County Alyssa Brinkman, Jane Brinkman and the late Kristy Sams, Milan; 2017 Miss Ripley County Hanna Speer, Holton; and 2016 Miss Ripley County Carah Cumberworth, Arkansas.

Members keep busy working behind the scenes. Kunz says, "We work very well as a team collecting donations, making joint decisions on pageant planning, making schedules, and making sure pageant day goes off without a hitch."

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

Ripley County Queen's Pageant

Sunday, July 14, 6:30 p.m., Damm Theatre, Osgood

Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Cost: $5 for ages 12 and up

Attendees may make donations for the People's Choice Award. All money collected will be given to the Sams family for their children's future education needs.

Caitlyn Broering

Age: 19

Town: Batesville

Parents: Brad and Sandy Westerfeld

Education: The 2019 Batesville High School graduate will start college in the fall to complete her general studies.

Tora Coleman

Age: 16

Town: Milan

Parents: Harold and Brenda Coleman

Education: The Milan High School junior wants to attend Purdue University to become a veterinarian.

Cierra Copeland

Age: 17

Town: Versailles

Parents: Sam and Amy Copeland

Education: The South Ripley High School senior plans to major in radiology and get her MRI license.

Olivia Davis

Age: 16

Town: Milan

Parents: Bobby Davis and Lisa Davis

Education: The Milan High School junior plans to become an elementary school teacher.

Baylee Dwenger

Age: 19

Town: Osgood

Parents: Melvin and Chelsa Dwenger

Education: The Hanover College sophomore is working toward a doctorate in physical therapy.

Lacy Engelking

Age: 19

Town: Sunman

Parents: Davied and Lori Engelking

Education: The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis sophomore is majoring in radiology.

Shalee Harrington

Age: 16

Town: Batesville

Parent: Dawn Harrington

Education: The Batesville High School junior aspires to be an ultrasound technician.

Bailey Hon

Age: 18

Town: Holton

Parents: Jerry Hon and Rebecca Furst

Education: The 2019 Jac-Cen-Del High School graduate will attend Indiana State University, majoring in elementary education.

Abbey Knowlton

Age: 17

Town: Osgood

Parents: Mike and Jennifer Knowlton

Education: The Milan High School senior plans to attend college to major in business and agribusiness.

Anna Liming

Age: 19

Town: Dillsboro

Parents: Brian and Sandra Liming

Education: The Ivy Tech Community College sophomore plans to transfer to Ball State University to finish her elementary education major.

Malia Scheele

Age: 16

Town: Batesville

Parents: Shawn and Mallory Seitz and Nick Scheele

Education: The Batesville High School junior aspires to start a career in sonography.

Heidi Speer

Age: 20

Town: Holton

Parents: Daniel and Michele Speer

Education: The Purdue University sophomore is majoring in ag finance and agronomy.

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