CAMDEN — Hunter Owens and Gabrielle Cooper have been crowned the 2017 Preble County Fair King and Queen.
The Preble County Fair royalty competition was held on Saturday, June 10, at Preble Shawnee High School. All fair royalty were crowned during the event.
Selection of king and queen is based on 35 points for activities participated in, 15 points for an essay, 20 points for the advisor evaluation, and 30 points for a personal interview.
During the competition, the contestants for king and queen are asked to introduce themselves, then they are asked a question they could prepare for, and finally they are asked a “fishbowl” question. Contestants are shown all the fishbowl questions before the competition, but do not know which one they will be asked to answer until they draw it.
Hosts for the event were 2016 Preble County Fair King and Queen Johnathon Cottingim and Aubrey Stevenson.
Judges for the competition were 2016 Preble County Jr. Fair King Tommy Holland, 2011 Butler County Jr. Fair King Daniel Marcum, and 2012 Butler County Jr. Fair Queen Tiffany O’Conner.
Owens was the only competitor this year for Jr. Fair King, but this was his third year competing for the title. Owens is 19 and hales from Lewisburg. He was representing Bouncing Bunnies 4-H Club and is the son of Aaron and Amy Owens.
“This is a dream come true,” Owens said after the competition.”Like I said on stage, I always wanted to be Fair King, since I was first in 4-H. It always stuck out to me. This is my third time trying out.”
“I’m most looking forward to getting to see other fairs, like last year and the year before, but this year getting to see more and doing more through the fair,” Owens added. “I kinda wanted a little more competition, but it is what it is.”
As for the Famous Preble County Fair, Owens said that he’s looking forward to the parade. He said that he’s also looking forward to being with the rest of the court. “We all get along really well, it’s going to be fun,” he said.
Cooper, however, was one of 15 queen candidates. Cooper is 19 and hales from West Alexandria. She was representing Spic N Span Pots N Pans, Somers Super Beef 4-H Clubs, and Twin Valley South MVCTC FFA. She is the daughter of Aaron and Kelly Cooper.
“I’ve competed over the past three years, during which I’ve been the First Runner-up Queen,” Cooper said. “This year I was super excited to be able to compete for Queen since it is my last year in 4-H. I went into the competition hoping, but I didn’t want to expect anything. I was excited for whatever I was going to get.
“I was super excited to win. Seeing Fair Queens in the past, it’s been a very big deal getting to be a representative of our fair. I love visiting other fairs and getting to know other people — I love that aspect and I just love representing Preble County.
“The fair is going to be really hard for me, because it’s my last year in 4-H. What I’m really looking forward to is showing my cows and meeting new people,” she added.
As for the actual competition, Cooper said it was easy for her to talk about her past experiences in the court because of her passion for the fair and fair court.
In addition to the King and Queen, the court was also named. This year’s fair court includes: Fourth Runner-up Queen Catie Millhouse, Third Runner-up Queen Emma Tobias, Second Runner-up Queen Chyann Kendel, and First Runner-up Queen Carley Asher.
The rules state the contestants can run for livestock and overall royalty, but they are asked before the competition if they are running for both, which title they would prefer. However, if they are overall Fair Queen, they do not have a choice and are voted overall Fair Queen.
Miss Congeniality is something new this year, and allows the contestants to vote on this category. Macel Stowers was named Miss Congeniality.
Species royalty were also named. Those selected included: Beef Queen Cheyenne Baker, Dairy Princess Leslie Burger, Goat King Austin Baker, Goat Queen Addie Anspaugh, Horse Queen Jasmine Mabry, Horse Prince Haven Johnson, Lamb and Wool Queen Alisha Rader, Nutrition, Textiles and Arts Queen Kelsie Shafer, Pork Queen Macel Stowers, Poultry King Andrew Millhouse, Poultry Queen Rachel Kimball, Rabbit King Landon Owens, and Rabbit Queen Jessica Chappell.
Former Queen Stevenson took a moment to thank her adviser.
“A huge thank you to Kim Fields, I don’t think anybody even understands how hard she works to get this done, how much stress and time this can be,” Stevenson said. “Even during the fair week, dealing with us sassy, grumpy kids by Friday. Kim does a wonderful job, and I don’t think we could make it without her. I’m really going to miss not working with her, because I’ve been on royalty for four years, and Kim is like my fair mom. Just a warning, if you do anything bad she will hunt you down. So don’t do it.”
Fields was also in a thankful mood and said, “I want to thank a moment to thank my court from last year. You don’t realize what these kids do and we have to fund this contest — it is funded 100 percent by donations. These kids went to probably eight or nine other county fairs, all over the state of Ohio and Indiana. They volunteer at the Pork Festival. These kids work hard and this year for our new royalty, we’re going to paint the inside of the Tony Building.”
Fields also took a moment to thank Preble Shawnee High School, Ami Stevenson, Beth Waggoman, Preble County Ag Society, Senior Fair Board, Cassie Wright, Cheyenne Jones, Val Garnett, Nancy Tilton, and Christy Millhouse.
The 2017 Royalty Committee consisted of Chair Hunter Owens, Co-chair Jamie Grill, Adult Adviser Kim Fields, Adult Advier McKenna Marshall, Carley Asher, Chyann Kendel, and Catie Millhouse.
2017 donors included: Aaron and Amy Owens, Agriscapes, Inc., Country Bunch 4-H Club. Eaton Floral, Jane and Thomas Marshall and Family, Kay and Lon Swihart, Monroe Better Livestock 4-H Club, Preble County Horse Committee, Quality Tile & Drainage System, LLC., Signs N Such, and Somers Super Beef 4-H Club.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH