COLUMBIA — After winning the Boone County fair queen crown, Amy Wilsdorf had just 12 days to prepare for the state fair competition. She hit the books, mining facts from the Census of Agriculture, and practiced her speech in the car, in the shower, for family and anyone who would listen.
Wilsdorf competed Friday with 60 contestants at the 108th Missouri State Fair in Sedalia and received a $500 scholarship. The Boone County fair queen, named runner-up for the state fair crown, used the contest to promote her platform of connecting agriculture to urban youth.
“You don’t have to live on a farm, raise cows and grow corn to be involved in agriculture,” Wilsdorf said.
She credits her pageant success to four years in FFA, formerly Future Farmers of America, and 11 years in 4-H in rural Woodlandville, a small town northwest of Columbia. Positions in the organizations at the local, county and state level exposed her to public speaking and interviewing.
Wilsdorf, 19, a 2009 graduate of Hickman High School, said that during the on-stage question portion of the state contest, she explained the importance of using the fair to educate urban youths about where their food comes from.
Chuck Miller, agricultural teacher at Hickman High School and FFA adviser, said he remembers Wilsdorf teaching preschool students about rabbit husbandry.
“She really got down and worked with the kids,” Miller said. “She developed instructional methods that made them listen and learn.”
Patsy Watt, a longtime volunteer for Woodlandville 4-H, said that “no matter what activity, (Wilsdorf) gives it 100 percent.”
Wilsdorf recently represented Boone County at the Town and Country Dinner, which MU Extension organized, and said she plans on “making the most of next year” in her role as queen.
She plans to realize her dream of becoming an MU Tiger next spring when she transfers from Moberly Area Community College. She wants to study fisheries and wildlife.