Her mother, Deb Rohrer, explained that one day Amy arrived home from
work and told her family that she had made the decision to run for
Miss Logan County Fair.
For Deb, it was a surprise altogether.
"Amy and I have always been very close," she said, "and this was
the first time she'd ever made a decision without talking about it
first. Looking back now, I see that it was the beginning of her
gaining her own independence. She made the decision and went through
the process on her own, and I'm very proud of that."
For Amy, the decision came from the influence of her employer and
co-workers. Those she worked for and with had began encouraging her
to run. Some of the ladies at MKS also knew that Amy's grandmother
Joyce Babbs Oltmanns had run for queen with success in 1954, and
they had encouraged her to "do it for your grandmother."
Deb explained that she personally had some very mixed emotions
during the run, and as a result held the entire process at arm's
"Amy had always been successful in anything she tried to
accomplish, and I wanted her to win so very bad, but I also knew
that she would be devastated, as would I, if she didn't."
So, Amy ventured into the process on her own, and Deb stood back,
preparing herself to deal with the consequences of failure and
helping her daughter through it.
But, it didn't quite work out that way. Amy did win, and the
entire Rohrer family was elated.
"We were so happy, but when we got home that night after the
pageant and went to Amy's closet, we realized just how totally
unprepared for this we really were!"
The Logan County Fair queens, once crowned, become an example and
role model for all those who look on her. As such, she is expected
to behave a certain way and dress a certain way. For the
Rohrers, it was the dress code that soon became a challenge.
"Amy had some very nice clothes," Rohrer said, "but there were
rules. She had to wear dresses; they had to be a certain length; she
couldn't wear anything with a belt; and she couldn't wear open-toed
shoes. She was provided a convertible for the week of the fair but
could not drive it alone. She was not allowed to go anywhere as
queen for the entire year without a chaperone/escort."
Rohrer said they spent that night going through all of Amy's
clothes and finally came up with what they thought would be suitable
attire for a queen at the fair.
She also recalled one of their most frantic mornings of trying to
get to the fair on time.
"We were all ready to go, when Amy ran outside to give the cat a
can of food. She did that, hopped in the car, and we were well on
our way when we realized that she had cut herself on the can. She
had blood on the car, on her clothes, on her. So, we turned around
and went back home, cleaned up the car and Amy. She changed clothes
and we were off again."
However, in her haste to change, Amy forgot some of the clothing
"When we got to the fair and met up with the directors, she
didn't pass inspection because she'd put on an outfit with a
belt. So, she had to change into the spare set of clothes we had
brought for later in the day. So, that morning, she got dressed
three times, just to go to the fair!"
[to top of second column]
Rohrer said that when fair week was over, Amy soon had to return
to school at Western. Because there was distance between them, the
mother-daughter team had to improvise on how to prepare for the
state competition to be held the following January.
"I became the typical Queen Mum," Rohrer laughed. "I got tapes of
all the past state competitions and watched every one of them. I
took notes on what the winners wore, both clothing styles and
colors, and I wrote down their interview questions and sent them to
Amy so she could practice them."
Rohrer also recalled that Amy needed to practice using a
microphone -- not something one finds lying around their house --
and so they improvised with a wooden spoon.
When it was all said and done, Rohrer kept the spoon and
decorated it to commemorate the year her daughter spent as
queen. The spoon now has a special spot in the hutch where all of
Amy's pictures, her sash and her crown reside.
"We didn't have time to shop, so I would do research on the
Internet, find clothes and things I thought would be good, send her
pictures and links, and that's how we got her prepared for
When the January competition came along, Amy was well prepared
and so was her mother.
"I really kind of thought this time that she had a chance at
winning," Rohrer said.
But, at the same time, it was really OK that she didn't.
"We didn't talk about it much," Rohrer said, "but when the final
12 were named at state and Amy was not one of them, the first thing
she did was go to the dressing room and wash off her makeup, comb
out her hair, and she was back to being just Amy."
For the mother and daughter, a lot of good things came out of the
year as Logan County Fair queen.
Today Amy is Amy Morgan. She lives in East Peoria with her
husband of five years, Brent, and 8-month-old daughter Kallie. She
met her husband during her year as fair queen and was able to share
some of her experiences with him.
She works as safety director for Kuhl & Co. Insurance in Morton,
but also runs her own floral and decorating business on the side,
doing wedding receptions and parties.
Rohrer said that what they learned about researching and working
together on the state competition is something the two use today in
"Amy will email me and say I need this or I need that, and I'll
do the research and find what she needs."
There was also another reward, one that brought a tear to the eye
of the Queen Mum.
"I'll never forget the day we went to see my grandmother (Agnes
Huskins Eckert) after Amy was crowned. While Amy and her grandmother
had a special connection of both being Logan County Fair queens, my
grandmother and I had the connection of both being queen moms,"
Rohrer said, "and that was very special."
[By NILA SMITH]
From the LDN archives