In the Multipurpose Building at the Highland County Fairgrounds where the annual queen contest was held Sunday, there is a sign on an interior wall that reads: “Somewhere in this barn there is a little kid that wants to be just like you someday. You owe it to them to be the best you can.”
Aubrey McKenzie, a 17-year-old Lynchburg-Clay High School junior who was crowned 2019 Highland County Fair Queen on Sunday, pretty much echoed those words in describing why she wanted to be part of the fair queen contest.
“Really, because I want to show that little girl in the crowd she can go after her dreams and do whatever she wants to do,” McKenzie said of her reasons for entering the contest.
A relative newcomer to the 4-H scene, McKenzie is in just her third year of working with special interest projects for the fair. She has dabbled in photography, the arts, cake decorating and design as a member of the Fab Five 4-H Club. This was her second try in the queen contest.
“That’s the big thing for me. I think 4-H should be more than just about animals, maybe especially for people that don’t have the room to raise animals,” McKenzie said.
Eight girls entered the queen’s pageant. The names of the three attendants — Maysun Faulconer, Halle Hamilton and Sarah Newsome — in no particular order, were announced before the new queen was introduced to the crowd.
“I was like, ‘On my gosh, I didn’t get it.’ There were so many other good candidates out there,” McKenzie said of her feelings when the attendants’ names were read. “I’m literally so happy now I can’t keep the smile off my face. I’m really happy to have the chance to go represent Highland County. After not placing last year and for this to happen, I am just so happy.”
McKenzie is the daughter of Jason and Jennifer Ludwick of Hillsboro. She took first place in Highland County 4-H Summer Judging for cake decorating and advanced to the state fair. He is a member of her high school student council and enjoys photography and playing volleyball.
The queen’s contestants were judged in four categories — their application, a personal interview with the judges, poise and appearance, and an oral presentation.
The judges were Liz Dunn of Georgetown, Bethany Shupert of Seaman and Corey Jodrey of Winchester.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.