The 2020 Box Butte County Fair Royalty has been able to do a lot more of the traditional “duties” of being fair royalty than the previous year. They entered a float in the Alliance and Crawford parades and have had tea parties with princesses.
“With COVID it’s still kind of different but the girls have done a really good job,” said BBC Fair Queen Contest Coordinator Barbie Applegarth. “The girls’ personalities this year were really different from each other which can been a good thing and also kind of made things difficult.”
The contest should be a lot more “normal” this year. Keep your fingers crossed that the weather cooperates so that the contest is able to be held at the grandstands instead of in the Hemingford School Gym like it has been the past two years.
“There’s no rain in the forecast for that day but we’re still a ways out,” Applegarth said. “All of the farmers are like ‘if the queen contest is what it takes to make it rain then we’re okay with that’.”
“Two years ago it was just pouring,” she said. “I was still at Mobius cleaning up from the luncheon and I thought I could hear it raining but there were no windows. I went outside and it was a typhoon! Then last year the lightning was so bad that we had to move it inside. We’re so thankful that the school allows that but I’m hoping we can have it at the grandstands because that’s just tradition.”
“We’re not going to spend as much time on the stage decorations this year that we have the past two years ... the hours and hours of decorating the last couple of years has been a waste,” Applegarth said. “Maybe if we don’t spend as much time on decorating, Mother Nature will be nice to us.”
“We have nine girls competing this year,” said Applegarth. “What I did this year was sent out about two dozen applications to girls that I thought might want to do it. This is kind of a group of girls that I think have probably wanted to do the contest since they were little.”
“It’s my goal to get 12 contestants but I just can’t get there,” she added.
“We’re still trying to get girls focused away from that ‘talent’. I’ve had so many girls say that they would do it if it wasn’t for the talent section. Well, it’s not a ‘talent’ anymore. It’s two minutes to tell a little about what makes them unique.
“I’m going to say five to ten years after I was in the queen contest they started the performance portion and I don’t think it was intended that way but some of the girls started ‘performing’ so that’s the direction it went,” Applegarth said. ““Just tell about yourself and what you like to do.”
The 2020 Box Butte County Fair Queens are: Queen - Cambrea Vogel, 1st Attendant - Aubrey Garrett, 2nd Attendant - Lilyanne Carlson, and Miss Congeniality - Peittyn Johnson.
The ladies had some advice on why girls should think about competing.
“I think that if girls are given the opportunity to do the queen contest they definitely should,” said Vogel. “Even if you don’t get a crown you still go through a lot of things that you’re going to go through in life like an interview or having to connect with people on a new level and getting a new experience.”
“Serving as queen I’ve been able to interact more with our communities and the younger generation and advocate more for the fair and the queen contest,” she added. “By getting a crown you get so much but also by just getting up on stage and facing that fear and putting yourself out there you get so much more. I have so many new friendships from the queen contest and from those on my court and I also have been able to connect with the board members, activity directors, and community members.” “Overall it has been a very rewarding process and I am so thankful that I did it and I would recommend that everybody puts in sales out there if they have the chance and do the queen contest because you never know what the outcome might be,” Vogel said with a smile.
“It’s a good experience during the contest to try something new and step out of your comfort zone,” Garrett said. “Never hurts to say you tried something new whether you receive a crown or not. It’s also a great experience to represent your community and know that little kids look up to you when you are out and about in your sash and crown.”
“I think girls should sign up for the Queen contest because it’s such an amazing experience,” said Johnson. “I had so much fun, made new friends and I got out of my comfort zone. I understand it’s very nerve-wracking but honestly once you get up there it isn’t even that bad. When I was nervous I just thought all the people who were out there supporting us girls for having the guts to get on the stage and show them we want to represent Box Butte County!”
“But it’s so fun, you have little girls looking up at you and wanting pictures, it’s the little things that matter to me as royalty,” she added. “I also became best friends with my other queens! I say all girls should do it, we want to have a full stage one of these years!”
“I have mixed feelings about the upcoming contest,” said Vogel. “I’m excited for the new contestants and the new royalty but it is also a super bittersweet moment.”
Come out and watch this year’s Box Butte County Fair Queen Contest on Wednesday, August 4 at 8 p.m. at the Grandstands.