Kate Warma crowned Miss Carlinville 2013
By Daniel Winningham
Girls, elegant gowns … and a gorilla dancing to hit rap song Gangnam-style?
All of that and much more was on display at the ninth annual Carlinville Queen Pageant April 20 at the CHS Gym that was themed “It’s a Jungle Out There.”
After the judges counted all the scores, Kate Warma was crowned the 2013 Miss Carlinville, Karly Ambuel was named the Junior Miss while Jada Barkley received this year’s Little Miss title.
Twenty-one girls — six in the Miss Carlinville competition, eight in the running for Junior Miss and seven seeking the crown of Little Miss — were a part of this year’s event, which began shortly after 7 p.m.
The crowning took place after plenty of antics from emcee B.J. Vinyard, including a banana-eating contest by the escorts and a few one-liners:
• “What’s a tree’s worst month? … Sept-Timmmmber!”
• “The calculators still buzzin’, ‘Where’s the gorilla?’”
• Vinyard checked whether those in the crowd were Cardinals or Cubs fans;
• Vinyard also asked the audience if they were missing out on a favorite television show by attending the pageant;
Warma anxiously awaited the big announcement along with Emma Hicks, Katie Buckner and Valerie Loveless still in the running for Miss Carlinville. (Two other contestants, Allie Ward and Carley Brown, were named second runner-up and first runner-up, respectively, and had received their trophies.) Upon hearing her named called, Warma was greeted with a hug from Ruffatto and given red flowers. She then had the tiara put on and took her first walk across the stage as the 2013 Miss Carlinville.
“It’s shocking,” Warma said after being named Miss Carlinville. “I worked very hard on it, and put a lot of effort into it. I felt really confident with it.”
This was the first time Warma participated in a pageant of any kind. She said her friend — and 2012 Miss Carlinville — encouraged her to participate.
“The current Miss Carlinville, Hannah Ruffatto, is one of my best friends and she told me it was a wonderful experience, and that I should do it.”
Warma isn’t sure what to expect in the coming year as Miss Carlinville, other than that it should be a memorable time.
“It’ll be really fun,” Warma said. “I can’t wait to work with the pageant crew, the Junior Miss and Little.”
Warma, a junior at Carlinville High School, is a member of the Cavalette dance team. She is one of the top academic students in her class and has played cello for the past seven years. Her favorite color is yellow and she’s a vegetarian.
In the on-stage question toward the end of the competition, which Vinyard said the contestants were most nervous about, 2012 Miss Carlinville Hannah Ruffatto read the following to each of the six vying for this year’s queen title.
“A past Miss Carlinville queen just earned the opportunity to donate to a charity of her choice. If you were given that opportunity, what local charity or group would you choose to donate to and why?”
Warma participated in this year’s competition with one of her best friends, Allie Ward. The two got T-shirts made together for the competition.
“All of our friends were here to cheer us on,” Warma said.
Kate’s parents, Karl and Kim, both wore purple “Warma-Ward: Allie and Kate for Queen 2013” to the competition.
Amid the popping of balloons in the sparsely filled gym after the event concluded, they reacted to their daughter’s achievement.
“It’s very exciting, it’s exciting to watch her be so thrilled by it,” Kim Warma said. “We’re excited that she had the opportunity to participate in the community in the way that she wants.”
Karl Warma said his daughter put a lot of time and preparation into Saturday’s event. Practices start earlier in the year, and took place weekly.
“It’s three months, and it was really quite involved,” Karl said.
Kim Warma credited pageant director Ashley Vinyard for the hard work and planning for this year’s pageant.
Carley Brown was named the first runner-up while Allie Ward was named this year’s second runner-up. Valerie Loveless was named Miss Congeniality.
Reaction from new Junior Miss
Karly Ambuel spoke to the Enquirer~Democrat after the competition wrapped up.
“I was overwhelmed with emotion at first,” she said. “I had no clue what to do … It still hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Ambuel’s best friend, Ryleigh Gibbel, was the 2012 Junior Miss and placed the shiny tiara on her shortly after Ambuel was selected as this year’s Junior Miss winner.
Ambuel said she’s heard a little about what to expect in the coming year from Gibbel’s first-hand experience.
“I’ve kind of heard a few stories,” Ambuel said.
Karly’s mother, Katie Ambuel, reacted to her daughter being named this year’s Junior Miss.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Katie said. “She did a lot of hard work preparing for it, and we put a lot of time and effort into it.”
Karly Ambuel was the 2005 Little Miss and was the first runner-up in the Junior Miss competition last year.
Katie Ambuel knows it will be a hectic next 12 months.
“It’ll be busy, very overwhelming at this point,” she said.
In addition to her mother and father, Brad, Karly Ambuel’s aunt, Angie Neske, and cousin, Olivia Neske, almost 2, wore T-shirts and cheered her on. Angie Neske designed the blue shirts with green zebra stripes that said “Crazy for Karly.”
In the Junior Miss competition, Stasia Nejmanowksi was named first runner-up while Lauren Sullivan was selected second runner-up.
Judges and escorts
Each of the six queen contestants took part in the swimsuit and evening gown portions of the show, plus an on-stage question. Also, the Miss Carlinville and Junior Miss contestants performed an opening dance routine.
Judges for this year’s event were Emmary Roemer, Julie Rinehart and Suzanne Cowman.
Escorts for the Little Miss contestants were Cade Vinyard and Nelson White. Escorts for the Miss Carlinville contestants were Kyle Kleeman and Brendan Stewart.
The competition began in the CHS Gym at 7 p.m. with a gorilla dancing to Korean rapper Psy’s Gangnam Style. However, for the girls in the competition, it started much earlier with interviews at Crabby’s Restaurant at 3 p.m.