Leech Lake

Leech Lake

Big Rock Resort, Walker, Minnesota


Fair Queen 101

There are only a few paths one can take in life to become a queen. The easiest is to be born a princess. Then, of course a girl might have the opportunity to marry a prince. But by far the most fun and interesting path of all is to chose to become one and that is the case with pageant queens. The Boone County Fair has a pageant for such princesses.

This year congratulations go out to both Jenna Joy Rodberg, 17, of Belvidere, for her success at winning the title of 2012 Boone County Fair Queen in addition to winning Miss Congeniality and Emma Rose VanAcker, for making it to the top as Little Miss Boone County. Rodberg was among 14 contestants for this year’s title.

Growing up in the country in a farming community, county fairs mean a great deal to the people who live there. But it can be an especially exciting experience for young girls who have grown up in one of Boone County’s small cities, towns or villages and get the chance to become the queen of the Boone County Fair.

Former pageant winners and organizers have a unique perspective, the one from inside, on how these girls and other young women compete for and win the coveted titles. Ones that not only come with prizes and crowns, but the promise of a year of hard work to come.

“You grow up and you come to the fair every year and it seems like the celebrity dream. By the time you’re all grown up you want to try it,” said 2011 Boone County Fair Queen Kelly Kristina Boyce when asked why she aspired to be part of the pageant. That said, Miss Boyce also noted that the ensuing year was a full one. “I’ve made 37 appearances throughout the year, I was at Hometown Christmas, the HarvestFest, and all those things,” Boyce said. “I was also out to Edward’s Apple Orchard one day.”

In the Boone County Fair Queen pageant there is no talent portion, there is only the speech. “They have a one minute platform speech about something they feel strongly about that they know well,” said pageant director Sharyn Geske. “We go through the summer timing them; stay in that one minute period. If you go downstate, you can’t go over that [minute]. If you do a loud buzzer goes off. You stop talking. You can’t say thank you, you can’t say anything. It’s very important that they learn that.

If you win at the state fair, you go to every other state fair, you go down for Ag Day; you’re with the governor at certain times. They are our representative. It’s very important to be a representative of your own county.”

Girls try pageants for many reasons, not the least of which are prizes and scholarships. But, sometimes, it’s for friendship. One young lady noted that was her motivation. “I wasn’t really in it to become queen. I had a friend that wanted to be in it and didn’t want to do it alone. I had a lot of fun meeting other girls from our school district. I was never one who had to be in something to be in first place. She quit but I found out it was fun and wanted to see it through to the end.”

Miss Boyce explained that for her, it was very different from showing horses. She also has big plans for the future and has put her $1000 scholarship to good use. “I am a junior at Illinois State University now, studying athletic training for a Bachelor’s Degree and plan on going to grad school for physical therapy,” said Boyce. She hopes to specialize in pediatric physical therapy.

When asked what it takes to win, both Boyce and Geske agreed that it was there is often a special spark that the judges notice that determines the winner. It isn’t the dress or the bathing suit or even the pretty hair style, but the person that shows through. “It doesn’t really matter what it looks like,” said Boyce, but more the confidence a girl shows during that portion of the competition.

According to Geske, the interview by three judges is one of the most important aspects of the pageant. Girls attend weekly practices for the event, at least three hours a week beginning in May, and going through the summer, right up to fair time.

The 2012 first runner up was Faith Stauersboll, 20, and second runner-up was Raquelle Sample, 18, both of Belvidere.

Who wants to be a queen?

What does it take to become one?

When in a lifetime does a person have that chance?

Where can they demonstrate their ability and talent to do the job?

Why would they want to be queen?

How can a person make it happen and win the title of queen?

If you are a girl that would like to earn some rewards and is willing to do the hard work and follow the rules, you could be Queen of the 2013 Boone County Fair!