Harszy crowned Miss Black Diamond Days 2013
By Jan Dona
Another Black Diamond Days is in the books and representing Coal Country for the next 12 months will be Miss Black Diamond Days 2013 Abby Harszy. Abby is a 2013 graduate of Gillespie High School and the daughter of Diane and Joe Harszy of Gillespie.
“When they announced myself as the winner, I didn’t know what to think. I never thought this day would come and I couldn’t be any happier than how it turned out. I couldn’t stop thanking God for all He has done for me and helping me throughout the pageant,” she said.
This isn’t the first time a Harszy head has worn a crown. Abby’s sister, Emily, was the 2011 Junior Miss Black Diamond Days. According to A. Harzy, Emily’s experience inspired her to make a run for her own crown.
“I wanted to run for Miss Black Diamond days for the experience. I love interviews and that is my favorite part of any competition. My sister won Junior Miss in 2011, and I knew she had a lot of fun being junior miss and making many friends. I knew that in this process I would make many lifelong lessons and friends,” said Harzsy.
Harszy was also honored with the People’s Choice award. The pageant’s first runner up was Kaitlyn Henrichs, the daughter of Eric and Gina Henrichs of Dorchester, who also was named Miss Congeniality. The Most Photogenic contestant was Deanna Landreth, the daughter of Gilbert and Alecia Landreth of Benld.
There were a total of six girls entered in this year’s competition. The others were Kaylee Cox, the daughter of Jimmy and Paula Cox of Gillespie; Audrey Dewey, the daughter of Thomas and Shelly Dewey of Gillespie; and Porsha Duvall, the daughter of Misty and Kevin Bertolis of East Gillespie.
Missing from this year’s Black Diamond Days royalty was the Junior Miss competition. According to event organizers, not enough girls were entered in the event. They plan to bring the title back next year if enough girls participate.
Harszy has some advice for any girl considering a run in the Miss Black Diamond Days or Junior Miss pageant. “Be yourself. It may sound like a generic or same old answer, but that’s what you need to do. Being yourself is the key to success. When you’re being yourself and showing the judges who you really are, you’ll be a lot happier. And happy girls are always the prettiest. It will leave a lasting impression on the judges and all of the contestants around you.”
To complete this year’s royalty, a new Mini Miner and Mini Miss were named during a ceremony on June 8 at Gillespie Civic Center.
Helaina Scott was the winner of the Little Miss competition, with Levi Hughes earning the Mini Miner crown. Helaina is the daughter of Brad and Jennifer Scott. Levi is the son of Allie Virga and Cody Hughes.
The winners of the Mini Miner and Mini Miss competition are determined by the amount of money raised by each contestant from cans in their name placed in area businesses. The boy and girl raising the most money wins the crown.
Other girls competing for the Mini Miss crown were Lucy Beckett, Scarlet Bruhn, Brookelyn Crotchett, Laine Fritz, Cheyenne Sarti and Ava Segarra.
Other competitors in the Mini Miner competition were Gabe Cooper, Codey Rhodes-Smith and Richetti Stewart.
Both the Mini Miner and Mini Miss will represent the community, along with Miss Black Diamond Days, in other area festivals and parades.
Runners, dogs, washers and fish
Since the first Black Diamond Days was held in 1980, the one-mile fun run/walk and 5k race have been a part of the festival’s activities.
Although the turn out for the one-mile event was disappointed with only three entrants, 75 people were entered in the 5k race.
Event organizers believe the lower turnouts may have been caused by another walk/run event held in Carlinville on the same day.
In the one-mile run/walk, Draeden Dierks was named the male winner with a time of 13:34. The top female prize went to Laney Dierks, 13:35, with Heather Dierks, 13:36, placing second in the female division.
In the 18-and-up age group, Ron and Tammy Butler were the top male and female contenders with a shared time of 14:04.
In the 5k race, the top three male runners were Austin Viano, 16:29; Dan Reid, 17:15; Kilian Sattoriva and Dustin Fletcher, 18:00. The top three females were Nikki Boente, 23:24; Holly Pianfetti, 23:45; and Elise Schwartz, 24:08.
The male and female masters were Kevin Polo, 19:42, and Elise Schwartz.
A medal was awarded to the top finishers in each age group as follows: 12 and up, Ben Polo, 25:57, and Blayze Horn, 26:00; 13-18, Jason Whitlock, 26:36; 19-24, Darren Edwards, 22:54, and Sarah Bussman, 26:39; Jared Giuffre, 27:58, and Nicole Brawley, 29:17; 30-34, Joseph Wilson, 21:32, and Katie Ronald, 26:24; 35-39, Josh Meyer, 20:20, and Kristi Drew, 24:08; 40-44, Kevin Polo and Elise Schwartz; 45-49, Paula Halin, 25:25; 50-54, Julie Boente, 25:26; 55-59, Dave Reid and Terri Reid, 25:26; 60-64, David Spickerman, 23:48, and Dana Yowell, 26:07; 65 and up, Burt Hemken, 28:32, and Diann Gregory, 48:49.
In the annual Patty Bernhardt and Festus Dog Show went off without a hitch on Saturday afternoon on the lawn of Gillespie Civic Center.
Prizes were awarded in the following categories: Madison and Reuben McMillin and their dog Tiny, Smallest Dog; Tessa Watson and Oscar, Black Diamond Days Choice; Tim Reid and Thor, Biggest Dog; Macie Wright and Checkers, Most Tricks; Lisa and Trenton Bertolis and Chico, Cutest Dog.
The third annual Black Diamond Days fishing tournament sponsored by Gillespie Masonic Lodge #214 had its largest turnout yet with 42 anglers vying for the top spots.
The tournament consists of four two-hour weigh-ins with prizes awarded for first and second place in each time slot and other awards given for the big bass of the day and biggest total team weight.
Phylis Crawford won the 8 a.m. weigh-in with a catch of 5.19 lbs., second place went to Hunter Vesper at 4.32 lbs.; 10 a.m., Mike Slightom, first place, 5:20 lbs., and Ron Curtis, second, 4.45 lbs.; 12 p.m., Nate Troekler, first, 3.66 lbs., and Ron Curtis, second, 2.93 lbs.; 2 p.m., John Pocklington, first, 3.96 lbs., and Gus Viehweg, second, 3.52 lbs.
Mike Slightom earned the big bass of the day at 5.20 lbs., and Mike Gretjak and Gus Viehweg won the team weight total with 10.77 lbs.
In the annual Emra Edwards III Memorial Washers Tournament, first place went to Bart Edwards and Dale Shelby who won $220. In second place were Ben Clark and Joe Klein, $100, with Dave Wilson and Randy Vinyard finishing in third, $60.
According to event organizer Marsha Mussatto, there were 19 teams registered, the most ever to play in the tournament.