Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Alyssa Morris crowned Miss Logan County Fair 2014 and Chloe Bottom, Little Miss

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[July 30, 2014]  LINCOLN - Before a large crowd at the Logan County Fair's grandstand on Tuesday evening, seven charming and talented young women and 15 little misses from around Logan County competed for a title and a chance to represent the county.

A winter scene complete with snowflakes served as backdrop for the 75th anniversary of the Miss Logan County Fair Queen Pageant evoking scenes from the popular movie “Frozen” on yet another unseasonably cool summer evening.

Appropriately for the opening production number, the queen candidates danced across the stage to “Frozen’s” Oscar winning song “Let It Go.” With temperatures dipping into the low 60s as the evening went on, the candidates were likely beginning to feel somewhat frozen during the swimsuit competition.

Seven queen candidates vied for this year’s title:
• Chloe Elizabeth Cox, 18, , Lincoln, daughter of Wayne and Melissa Cox, attends Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

• Madison Kay Leinweber, 20, Mount Pulaski, daughter of Gary and Kella Allspach; attends Kansas State

• Alyssa Beth Morris, 19, Lincoln, daughter of Mark and Donna Morris; attends Illinois State University

• Sydni Rohlfs, 19, Emden, daughter of Nick and Lisa Rohlfs; attends Benedictine University

• Ashton Wakeman, 17, Mount Pulaski, daughter of Micah and Laura Wakeman, attends Mount Pulaski High School

• Michelle Paulus, 18, Lincoln, daughter of Kent and Lynn Paulus; attends University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

• Rachel Skelton, 19, Middletown, daughter of Thomas and Stacie Skelton; attends Illinois State University

To display their communication skills, candidates described obstacles they have faced and offered advice for overcoming them such as “striving to do your best,” “looking beyond similarities to accept differences,” and using “power, strength, and optimism” to “fight back against cancer.”

The pop question asked the candidates to discuss what they would tell other young women about being individuals in today’s society. Many of the contestants said they would encourage others to “be themselves,” to “be confident,” and to “not [worry] what others think.”

As usual, the little miss contestants, ranging in age from five to eight, provided some priceless moments with their sweet little faces as they introduced themselves and told what they liked best at the fair with responses such as “the rides,” “the derby,” “tractor pulls,” “eating corndogs,” and “showing sheep and pigs.”

The fifteen little miss candidates were Chloe Bottom, Mia Boughan, Jayden Cherry, Mia Clark, Lauryn Crawford, Chloe Stone, Kiersten Fulk, Natalie Geary, Kaeli Jones, Aliannah Kodatt, Azul Kong, Sydney Loeffler, Isabella Miller, Josie Wakeman, and Karsyn Wilham. With their engaging smiles and waves to the crowd, they all displayed charm that delighted the crowd.

Special guests filling the time between the various sections of the competition included this year's royalty from several different Illinois counties, two former little misses; and ten former Logan County fair queens. Two queens were from the pageant’s early days: 1941 queen Irma (Kaesebier) Leesman and 1945 queen Evelyn (Oltmanns) Belcher, and each fondly remember their days as queen.

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Before this year’s queen was crowned, outgoing queen Crystal Quint gave a teary-eyed speech in which she called this past year the “experience of a lifetime” and thanked the many people who helped her throughout the year, most of all her parents.
Fair association president Dean Bruns talked about how much he enjoys the pageant and his love for the kids, telling them to call him grandpa. Riding in Bruns Gator, he enjoys escorting the royalty around the fairgrounds to pose for pictures at various awards.

The long pause from performances is built into the pageant to allow judges to make their decisions. Finally, the dramatic moment of decision arrived, and Alyssa Morris was crowned Miss Logan County Fair 2014 and Chloe Bottom was chosen as Little Miss Logan County 2014.

Other awards for the queen contest were presented to Chloe Cox, first runner up; Michelle Paulus for both crowd’s choice and second runner-up; Sydni Rohlfs for Miss Congeniality, and Chloe Cox for selling the most raffle tickets.
Other awards for the Little Miss contest were presented to Karsyn Wilham, Miss Photogenic; crowd’s choice, Jayden Cherry; fourth runner-up, Kiersten Fulk, third runner-up Isabella Miller; second runner-up, Azul Kong; first runner-up, Chloe Stone; and most raffle tickets sold, Aliannah Kodatt.

Queen Alyssa Morris is the daughter of Mark and Donna Morris. She is a graduate of Lincoln Community High School, was in an honors program and will attend ISU with plans to get a degree in Psychology in 2017 and intends to get a Masters in occupational therapy from St. Louis University. Her goal is to work in schools with children with special needs. She enjoys exercising, sewing, vacationing with family, and going to country music contests with friends.
Little Miss Chloe Bottom is the daughter of Russell and Linda Bottom.

Queen Morris, joined by Little Miss Bottom, will reign over the Logan County Fair attending several events and presentations during the remainder of the fair. They will represent Logan County as various other events during the year and Miss Morris will compete in January for the title of Miss Illinois County Fair.”

Their experiences are sure to stay with them, for as 1993 queen Patience Horton said, “The week of the fair after winning was a blast” as she attended events and handed out ribbons, while 2000 Queen Elizabeth Stoll Wrage says it provides a lifetime connection to the fair.

[Angela Reiners]

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