The Paper photo by Noel Marquis. Darian Stewart is crowned the 2014 Montgomery County 4-H Fair Queen by the 2013 queen, Eleri Vice.
The Paper photo by Noel Marquis. Darian Stewart is crowned the 2014 Montgomery County 4-H Fair Queen by the 2013 queen, Eleri Vice.
It has been said that every girl dreams of becoming royalty someday. On Saturday evening, 14 young women came a bit closer to achieving that goal. North Montgomery High School was the site of the 2014 Miss Montgomery 4-H Queen Contest. In order to be eligible for the queen competition, contestants had to be both a 4-H member and age 16 by the end of the State Fair. However, due to recent rule changes, contestants were also required to be age 18 by Jan. 1, 2016. Girls who did not meet the new requirement were allowed to compete for the title of princess. 11 queen contestants and three princess contestants competed during the 2014 contest.

The evening opened with the princess portion of the Contest. After introducing themselves, their parents, and their sponsors, the three girls presented their professional and formal attire. They then answered questions regarding the significance of 4-H and the Montgomery County community on their lives. The girls vying for the princess title then joined the rest of the contestants in a choreographed dance routine. Dubbed the "Fancy Fourteen," the contestants donned plaid shirts and glittery belt buckles before dancing to Luke Bryan's "Country Girl Shake It For Me." The 11 queen contestants then presented their professional and formal attire. Like the princess contestants, the girls competing for the title of Miss Montgomery County were asked to answer one of two questions regarding the life obstacles 4-H has helped them to overcome and what they consider to be major highlights of their community. In their answers, many contestants stressed the tight bond members of Montgomery County seem to have. "Our community has such a strong family bond that it is a highlight in itself," queen contestant Sara Jones stated when it was her turn to speak.

At the end of the night, it was Darian Stewart, daughter of Jason and April Stewart, who was crowned Miss Montgomery County by 2013 queen Eleri Vice. Stewart, sponsored by Rod Curran's Tax Service, has been a member of 4-H for 10 years. When addressing the impact 4-H has had on her life for the judges, Stewart had expressed gratitude for the compassion the 4-H community had shown when she and her family became victims of a devastating house fire.

"My involvement in 4-H has given me a network of support," Stewart said.

Upon receiving her crown, Stewart stated that she felt "completely overwhelmed and absolutely blessed" to have been named queen. As Miss Montgomery County, she plans to act as a role model for young girls in the community. Stewart will be attending Indiana Wesleyan University in the fall in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in nursing.

The winner of the princess crown was Lauren Odle, daughter of Scott and Karin Odle. Odle was sponsored by The Mitchell Agency and has been a member of 4-H for eight years. After winning the princess crown, Odle said that the entire experience left her feeling "shocked and amazed."Odle is a student at North Montgomery High School and plans to attend college after graduation. Previous trips to Costa Rica have inspired her to pursue a career in International Business.

The First Runner-Up title was awarded to Conner Norman, daughter of Mike Norman and Marla Schilling. Norman, a student at North Montgomery High School, has been involved with 4-H for nine years and was sponsored by FC Tucker and Chad and Julie Hess.

The Second Runner-Up was Lindzy Sabens, daughter of Casey and Heather Harwood and Chris Sabens. Sabens, North Montgomery High School student and six-year 4-H member, was sponsored by Savvy Chic Salon and was also awarded the title of Miss Congeniality.

Paige Wininger, daughter of Brad and Dondra Wininger, was named Third Runner-Up. Wininger has been a member of 4-H for nine years and was sponsored by Indiana Zipline Tours, Inc. She is currently a student at Southmont High School.

The Elaine Chambers Award for Mental Attitude was given to Ariana Sowders, daughter of Dan and Colleen Sowders. It was Sowders' willingness to encourage her fellow contestants to do their best during the competition that won her the Elaine Chambers award. Sowders was sponsored by The Shop during the Contest.

Although all contests are competitive by nature, many of the 2014 contestants felt that the Miss Montgomery County 4-H queen Contest is less about rivalry and more about forming lasting friendships between the girls involved. "We became so close that we didn't care who won," Lauren Odle, winner of the princess crown, said. Each of the winners made a point to say that the encouragement of their friends before and during the evening was vital to their successes in the contest.