Daily Reporter Staff Writer
HANCOCK COUNTY — Even with her hands clasped over her mouth, covering much of her face, the surprise Shelby Wright felt was clear in her wide eyes.
It took just a second for Wright to realize the name pulled from the small white winner’s envelope Saturday night was hers, but the thrill of having been crowned the 2015 Hancock County 4-H fair queen took time to sink in.
Wright, a nine-year 4-H’er, was so taken aback by her big news Saturday that she spoke in short, excited sentences.
“This is just indescribable. It’s incredible. I don’t know what to say,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed. I can’t believe they just called my name.”
Wright, who will be a senior at Eastern Hancock High School next year, is an active member of the Goats R Us 4-H Club and completed projects for sewing and the fashion revue this year. She emerged as the winner of the queen contest among 27 young women vying for the crown.
Contestants are judged on their application, interview skills and overall poise on stage during the modeling portion of the pageant.
With the glittering crown atop her head for less than an hour Saturday, Wright and court members Juliann Apple, Emily Sitzman, Alexa Warren and Emily Schrope already were making plans for the week ahead.
The queen and her court serve as ambassadors to the 4-H program and will spend this week encouraging young 4-H’ers, passing out ribbons and making appearances at popular fair events. Wright will go on to compete against queens from other counties for the state title later this summer at the Indiana State Fair queen contest.
Wright and her court members said they look forward to giving back to the program they have enjoyed for years.
“When I was younger, I looked up to the 4-H queen,” Wright said. “Being in this position now is really incredible.”
Wright said she will spend the next week taking her duties as queen seriously. She plans to engage with the younger 4-H’ers and said she wants nothing more than to be a positive role model to those at the fair.
But she wasn’t the only one with a sash hoping to spread positivity around the fairgrounds. Madeline Wilks, who was named Miss Congeniality, also is looking forward to the coming week.
The bright and bubbly Indianapolis native, who has been an independent member of the Hancock County 4-H program for several years, said she hopes to spread enthusiasm as she mingles with fairgoers.
“I hope to be a role model by always smiling and looking at the positive of every situation,” Wilks said. “I think those things are important.”
Other members of the royal court felt the same.
Apple, a 10-year 4-H’er who was first runner-up, said helping teach others the life skills she’s learned through 4-H is the most important part of her role on the royal court.
“I’m ready to give back to the group that gave me so much,” she said. “These skills have prepared me not just for college but for the future and life. I want to help pass these lessons to someone else.”