Macoupin County Fair celebrates 165th year
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The 165th Macoupin County Fair officially opened July 5 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the grandstand, performed by the fair’s 2016 royalty. Fair Board President Brandon Oxley welcomed the crowd. “I want to welcome you on behalf of the superintendents, the staff and the board of the directors. It’s the 165th Macoupin County Fair. We are the oldest county fair in the state of Illinois; [we’re] very proud of that. This year we’re uniting the agriculture, the family and the history of the fair to bring you this 2017 edition.”
Colleen Nichols of Girard, the daughter of Daniel and Maureen Nichols, was chosen as the 2017 Miss Macoupin County Fair during this year’s pageant, held Thursday, July 6, at the grandstand. Braylee Gilmore of Carlinville, daughter of Michael and Robin Gilmore, was named the Junior Miss, and Lyla Brown of Carlinville, daughter of Jeff and Lori Brown, was chosen as the Little Miss.
“I was completely shocked,” said Nichols of her win. “I got to stand up there with one of my best friends, Anni Ibberson, and was totally satisfied with the winner going either way. But when my name was called, it took me a minute to realize what was happening!”
Nichols said that during her reign, her goal is to visit “every town in Macoupin County (even the tiniest) and volunteer with whatever I can there.” To her, the best part of the pageant was meeting and befriending the other contestants. “They were all steep competition, but what made me really feel like a winner was when several of them came up and hugged me after the pageant! That’s what it’s all about!”
Nichols had the following message for her fellow contestants: “I’d just like to tell all the girls that they were absolutely beautiful. We all gave it everything we had, and that’s all you could ask for. There’s more to a pageant than winning, and I’m glad I can call all you guys my friends.”
As Nichols alluded to, Anni Ibberson of Virden, daughter of Jim and LouAnn Ibberson, was the first runner-up in the queen competition; second runner-up was Malissa Huddleston of Staunton, daughter of Ken and Lisa Huddleston; third runner-up was Montana Thursby of Palmyra, daughter of Roger Thursby and Shannon McGovern; and fourth runner-up was Kassidy Cottingham of Brighton, daughter of Gregory and Kimberly Cottingham. This Miss Congeniality award ended in a tie, split between Cottingham and Alexandria Jenkins of Carlinville, daughter of Dave and Julie Jenkins.
In the Junior Miss competition, first runner-up went to Ryleigh Hunt of Carlinville, daughter of Dustin and Kim Hunt and Michelle and David Chingham; second runner-up, Chloe Velasquez of Carlinville, daughter of Rolando and Monica Velasquez; third runner-up, Sara Wiese of Carlinville, daughter of Robert and Crystal Wiese; fourth runner-up, Acacia Dyer of Carlinville, daughter of Wally and Michelle Dyer; and Miss Congeniality, Lauren Summers of Carlinville, daughter of Pete Summers and Pam Winsel.
Gilmore looks forward to “the chance to represent our county fair, agriculture, and, most importantly, the place I call home.” She said the best parts of the pageant were “building confidence, making new friends and having fun with the other contestants,” to whom she would like to say, “Always believe in yourself and stay determined to achieve your goals.”
For the Little Miss competition, first runner-up was Caylee Foiles of Carlinville, daughter of Brian and Caress Foiles; and second runner-up, Molly Carriker of Carlinville, daughter of Brad and Amber Carriker. Lydia Lowry of Gillespie, daughter of Kyle and Deanna Lowry, sold the most raffle tickets of the Little Miss contestants.
“When I realized I won,” I was ecstatic,” said Brown. “I am looking forward to riding many rides with my new Miss Macoupin County queens and meeting lots of new people.” She said that the best part of the pageant was being able to spend time with some of her friends. “I would like to say congratulations to all the contestants on trying your best and I think we are all winners.”
This will be the second year that Gilmore and Brown will serve together as local royalty; they were Junior Miss and Little Miss Carlinville, respectively, in 2015. Gilmore said that her first thought upon hearing her name called was, “Oh my gosh, I get to do this with Lyla again!”
Brown said she loves Gilmore like a sister and is very happy to once again be her Little Miss. “We feel like one big family already,” said Brown.