Crowds gathered to see many young ladies compete at this year’s Newville Fair Queen Pageants, and witnessed the crowning of Kailee Shotto and Lariah-Ann Wilson, who will reign as Miss Newville and Junior Miss Newville, respectively, for the next year.
The Miss Newville and Junior Miss Newville pageants took place last Wednesday evening at the Newville Lions Club Fairgrounds. Three judges presided over each respective pageant. The 2015 Miss Newville Fair Queen, Kelly (Biscuit) Wilson, served as the master of ceremonies.
According to the program, Kailee, 17, is a rising senior at Big Spring High School, and is the daughter of Joshua and Chastidy Shotto. She is a member of the varsity softball team and part of five academic honor societies. She has two jobs, among many other extracurriculars. She plans to either attend Penn State or the University of Delaware. Her sponsor was Clelan’s Custom Welding.
Lariah-Ann, 15, is a rising sophomore at Big Spring High School, and is the daughter of Tasha Wilson. She participated in Big Spring’s Mini-THON, TEMPUS Club and the dance team. She currently works at Kane’s Korner Pizzeria (who sponsored her), and plans to attend post-secondary schooling to become either a veterinarian or an FBI agent.
For the Miss Newville competition, there were six contestants, ages 16 to 20: Audry Evans, Kayla Kennedy, MaKayla Orndorff, Kaitlynn Varner, Jessica Wilson and Kailee.
For the Jr. Miss Newville pageant, there were four contestants, ages 10 to 15, Eden Bleyer, Gracie Lemmon, Hailey Rhoads and Lariah-Ann.
Each lady is scored based on their runway walk in casual wear; responses to a prepared question; runway walk in formal wear; and their response to a random, impromptu question. Miss Newville candidates received their prepared questions at a Monday or Sunday practice session before the Wednesday night pageant.
The judges also interview each contestant before the pageant to learn more about their personal lives. During this interview, the judges also throw in other questions, like how the contestant would improve the fair, or how they would like to be remembered as queen if selected.
The Jr. Miss Newville candidates were not asked to answer a prepared question as a way to eliminate additional stress with the competition, Kathy Biscuit, pageant organizer, said.
The first round featured an introduction from each contestant in their casual wear. Each contest named their sponsor and escort. Then proceeded to test the runway, posing at different corners to a selection of music they were able to choose.
Each sponsor pays a $100 entrance fee.
The Miss Newville contestants all received the same prepared question: “What is the greatest issue our generation is facing today?”
One Miss Newville contestant said face-to-face communication is the biggest issue with the invention of not introducing kids to the workforce early enough. Other contestants said drug use, or suicide, while another contestant said the average person being insecure about themselves is the biggest issue.
Kailee said, “I feel that the biggest issue our generation is going to face is by the year 2050, we will have 9.8 billion people estimated to be living on Earth, and our issue is that we have to figure out how to feed and provide a sustainable life for these people to live in. In order to do this, it is our job as a generation to work with past and future generations, and using technology, and different uses of our land, in order to feed and help these people live a happy life.”
While the young ladies changed into their formal wear, dignitaries from past pageants came to the microphone to wish the competitors good luck and pass along words of wisdom.
During this time, 2018 Miss Newville Fair Queen, Hannah Washington, received a $1,000 scholarship for completing her year-long rein. Heather (Bear) Wingert, 2007 Miss Newville Fair Queen, held a moment of silence for Monica Kay Gutshall who passed away a few months ago and was coordinator of the Newville Lions Club Miss and Junior Miss Newville pageants for many years.
Following the break, each contestant walked the runway in their formal wear, linking arms with their escort. They were then given a random, impromptu question to answer.
The Miss Newville contestants received questions, like “What would people never know about you just by looking at you?” or “What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in life to become the person you are today?” Others received questions like, “Would you say you are good role model, why or why not?”
Kailee received the question, “Do you think that the modeling industry has more of a negative or positive impact on young women?”
She responded, “I think if you would have asked this question a couple years ago, it would have been a negative impact on today’s women all around. But, as we look at today’s generation, women all around are working on body positivity and we are incorporating that in the modeling industry. So we have more and more women who aren’t those size 0s. They’re a size 10, and they are walking on the stage, rather than just showing us all those size 0s in magazines. So I think now, the modeling industry has definitely had a positive impact on women.”
The Junior Miss Newville contestants answered questions like, “If you had one wish, what would it be?” or questions pertaining to their preparations for the pageant. Another contestant was asked if they could go to any one place in the world, where would it be and why.
Lariah-Ann received the question, “What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?”
She responded, “Probably to just keep my head up, and everybody that loves me is always going to be there to support me, to never give up on what I want to do, and my dreams.”
After the pageants had come to a close, Hannah and Koya Gutshall, 2018 Jr. Miss Newville, completed their final walks along the runway as queens. They then crowned the winners, and placed golden sashes over their heads.
Runners-up were not announced, but were chosen in case the queens could not fulfill their duties.
Once they received their crowns, Kailee and Lariah-Ann made their first walks down the runway as fair royalty.
“I was not expecting to win,” Kailee said. “When they called my name, I was filled with a lot of emotion. I was really excited. But for the interviews, and talking, all the girls that did their speeches, they were really solid, and I knew it was going to be a close game either way, so I was just really glad to hear my name called out at the end.”
Lariah-Ann said, “Honestly, I think it's really nice to show every girl that they can do it, no matter if they have experience or not.”
She said she did a lot of shopping, and practicing of the walk to prepare for the pageant.
Tasha, Lariah-Ann’s mother, began to tear up following the announcement of her daughter’s name.
She said, “I'm so proud of my daughter, she’s amazing in everything that she does. She was afraid that because she’s 15 and the other girls are younger, that she wanted to give them more opportunities. She secretly wanted to win tonight.”
She added, “I couldn't ask for a better daughter.”