Ever since her sister won the title in 2008, Cassy Jo Aholt, 17, of Union, said she dreamed of being named Franklin County Fair Queen.
That dream came true for Aholt on Thursday night, opening night of the Fair.
Aholt, the daughter of Greg and JoAnn Aholt, edged out seven other competitors for the title. It was an eventful week for Aholt, who was in a serious car accident Monday, July 2, and won her softball game this week as well.
“I’m very excited and happy. I was very surprised,” she said. “I feel very blessed.”
Aholt, a student at East Central College, is a member of the Jeffriesburg 4-H club. She plans to become a large animal veterinarian or a sports therapist.
She said her experience in 4-H helped her a lot in the competition.
Aholt told The Missourian she’s excited to get to know the girls on her court even better.
The Fair queen was sponsored by Aholt’s Seamless Guttering.
Dave Hileman, Franklin County University of Missouri Extension 4-H youth specialist, was the emcee for the queen contest. He said this year’s court is a special group.
“The girls performed wonderfully as they always do,” he said.
During the competition, Katie O’Rear, 2011 Franklin County Fair queen, shared her experience participating in the Missouri State Fair.
“My reign has taught me to be the kind of person my parents would be proud of,” O’Rear said.
“From the moment this sash and tiara were placed upon me, I started learning that a queen must be polite, but personal, proud, but never arrogant . . . She must be creative in her thinking but always original in her purpose. Her manner must be proper, but not so forced to where it looks painful. Her smile must always be devout and genuine just as her eyes are accepting.”
The exemplary essay award was presented to Kayla Vondera, who read her speech to the crowd. She is a member of the Union FFA Chapter and the Go Hog Wild 4-H club.
Vondera, who also was named second alternate, received jewelry, a gift card, floral arrangement and a plaque.
She was sponsored by Jeff and Dawn Brunkhorst and George and Cheryl Vondera.
“I’m so glad I put in the work and the effort and I’m on the court,” she said. “I’m very blessed.”
After high school, Vondera plans to attend Missouri State University to major in journalism.
The queen contestants were judged on their resume, which included citizenship and leadership, an essay, interview with the judges and stage presence which included answering a question.
Dayeana Shell, Union, was named Miss Congeniality, a title selected by her fellow contestants. She is the daughter of Tracie Shell and John Lucas.
Shell was sponsored by The White Rabbit and Rosebud Grand Antique Mall. She is a member of Union FFA.
“It feels fantastic (to be named Miss Congeniality). This is exactly what I wanted,” she said.
After high school, Shell plans to attend the University of Missouri-Columbia to study psychology.
First alternate is Ariana Vieth, of Marthasville. She is the daughter of Timothy and Cheryl Vieth.
Vieth, a member of Washington FFA, will be a senior at Washington High School.
She was sponsored by Contractors Flooring, Wentzville, Vieth Flooring, Frick’s Market, KMC Properties, Party Time Rental and Bujinkan Dojo.
After high school, Vieth plans to join the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
“I’m proud to know I’ll be there supporting my queen and I’m happy to represent Franklin County,” she said.
As part of the competition, the girls have to complete a community service project, which consists of collecting items for local food pantries. The girls collected more than 1,000 personal hygiene and food items.
Katelyn Borgmann, Leslie, and a member of the Union FFA, collected the most items, 528, which earned her the Elizabeth Herashe Community Service award. She is the daughter of Henry and Michelle Borgmann.
Kelsey Baxter, Union, and a member of Union FFA, was the top ticket seller, with more than $1,000 in tickets sold. She is the daughter of Danny Baxter and Nickie Voss.
Other contestants were Alexis Gray, Washington, Washington FFA, daughter of Bridgett and Scott Wagner; and Kimberly Holland, Pacific, Washington FFA and Ace Bronco Bunch 4-H club, daughter of Roxann Snow and Doug Holland.
The queen committee includes Kaylin Bade, chairwoman, Dave Hileman, Donna Meyer, Kaileigh Meyer, Krystin Lakebrink, Jessica Luechtefeld, Tiffany Bardot, Katie O’Rear, Rachel Buenemann and Kimberley Emery.
Judges were Debra Ellerbrook, Sunset Hills; Sara McMullin, Bourbon; Jessica Barbarick, Belle; and Amber Brennan, De Soto.