By Peg McRoy
Miss Kate Asldorf was crowned the 2023 Hendricks County 4-H Queen on the evening of June 25 at the Hendricks County Convention Center where a total of 17 beautiful young hopefuls vied for the crown.
She beamed with joy as Cameryn Rector, the 2022 4-H Queen, gently placed the crown upon her head. Immediately after, she was presented with a bouquet of red roses and adorned with the queen’s sash. Alford then made her first official steps as queen when she gracefully walked the runway to the cheers of the audience and the other contestants.
“When I was a little girl and before I was old enough to be in 4-H, I was exposed to 4-H because my brother participated.,” said Alsdorf. “I always thought the queen was so kind and beautiful. I am excited to show that same kindness.”
Mollie Dial was honored as Miss Congeniality, a title that is given through the votes of all the contestants. The young ladies go through six weeks of training and information gathering in preparation for pageant night. The day of the pageant begins early so they spend a lot of time together that day in close-quarters.
Voting for Miss Congeniality happens just prior to the start of the pageant. Winning the title of Miss Congeniality speaks to the easy-to-get-along-with personality and supportive nature of the winner. The humility that Dial demonstrated as her name was announced provided a glimpse into why she was chosen.
The first award given the night of the pageant was the Carol Hitch Memorial Award presented to Melayna Bavetz. It is an award that was created in 1995 to recognize the contestant who demonstrates the most improvement during the contest.
The Queen’s court is comprised of four other young ladies. First Runner-Up is Sadie Mercurio. She will assume the duties of the queen if the queen is unable. The other three are Amanda Fulcher, Megan Thompson, and Mary Van Ness. The queen’s court will accompany her throughout her appearances during the Hendricks County 4-H Fair.
The contestants go through a judging process that includes four segments. During the week prior to the pageant, they have an interview with the pageant committee that carries a hefty 50% of the final outcome. They are judged by a separate panel of the three the night of the pageant on their professional attire, formal wear, and stage presence.
“I found the interview segment of the process the most important,” said Alsdorf. “I have done this contest a few times before and the interview skills helped me in college to get internships and jobs. It is important to have those skills and confidence when you walk into an interview. I love the interview process.”
In addition to tiaras, sashes, bouquets, gift cards and free goods and services from local business donors, scholarships are given to the queen and her court. The queen gets a $1,000 scholarship, the runner-up a $500 scholarship, queen’s court $200, and miss congeniality $100.
The pageant committee did an excellent job of making the event very memorable and a bit magical. Soft lighting, gold draping around the runway, and low background music gave the convention hall a more delicate atmosphere.
Providing a strong opening to the pageant, 2003 Miss Hendricks County, Beth Gentry Knapp, beautifully sang “The Star Spangled Banner” acapella. She was followed by 2022 Miss Hendricks County Cameryn Rector leading the “Pledge of Allegiance” and the “4-H Pledge.”
The audience was then treated to individual greetings from every contestant. Each young lady dressed in professional attire, took center stage, introduced themselves, and told a little snippet of a story about themselves, giving the evening a personal touch before final judging commenced.
The judging of formal wear is always a walk of beauty down the runway, and this pageant didn’t disappoint. Every formal-length dress that each contestant donned was beautiful and flowed with them down the runway.
Before the naming of the queen’s court, the judges had the difficult task of whittling down the contestant pool to ten. Ariane Sims, Kelly Wagner, Keira Rodgers, Melayna Bavetz, and Tessa Maar were the other five.
The Hendricks County 4-H Fair runs from July 16-22 at the fairgrounds located at 1900 E. Main St., Danville, Indiana. A complete schedule of events can be found on the fairground’s website at 4hcomplex.org.
“It is going to be a very busy next few weeks for me and my court,” said Alsdorf. “We are ready. Bring it on.”
What does it take to be a Hendricks County 4-H Queen Contestant?
The basics: Each contestant must be at least 16 years of age but not have turned 20 by June 1, be enrolled in 4-H in Hendricks County, and have participated in Hendricks County 4-H their sophomore through senior years in high school. Judges who serve on the panel must live outside Hendricks County.
How the contestants are judged: They are judged on ability to converse, personality, poise, posture, and stage presence. They go through three divisions before finalists are announced.
Division One is Professional Wear—They must adhere to a professional dress code and are judged on posture, poise, and overall impression.
Division Two is a Three-Five Minute Interview—They must adhere to the same professional dress code as Division One and are judged on poise, personality, and their ability to converse.
Division Three is Formal Wear—This is the long-evening gown segment where the contestants are judged on stage presence and overall impression.
Miss Congeniality is voted on by the other contestants.