Pageant Perseverance

Fair queen hopeful comes back to compete again despite previous loss
Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:54 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Brittany Garrett, Contestant No. 13 of the Boone County Fair Queen pageant, delivers a speech during the talent portion of the competition. Garrett, 19, is an agriculture major at State Fair Community College.

COLUMBIA— If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.

And that’s exactly what she plans to do. Brittany Garrett, 19, of Ashland, didn’t win Miss Boone County Fair Pageant last year. She was runner-up. She didn’t quit there. She vied for the title again this year but did not make the top four. Despite her loss, she said she refused to quit. She planned on competing every year until she wins. Contestants must be between 17 and 22 to compete in the Miss Boone County Fair Pageant.

This year’s pageant winner was Sarah Carlisle, who also took home Miss Congeniality.

“I hope to put my name out there and meet a lot of people,” Garrett said. “Last year was a lot of fun. My favorite part of the pageant was getting to know all the girls.”

Participating in pageants is not on Garrett’s list of normal everyday activities. Rounding up hogs after they get loose, mowing the grass and checking cattle are typical tasks for the 19-year-old State Fair Community College agriculture major. This is why Garrett’s parents and friends were surprised that she competed the first time.

“My friends didn’t think I stood a chance,” Garrett said. “They told me, ‘I don’t know why you are doing this.’”

To everyone’s surprise, including Garrett’s, she ended last year’s pageant as runner-up out of the seven contestants.

“I was completely shocked because everyone else is wearing high heels and dresses, and I had boots and jeans on. I’m not your typical pageant girl,” Garrett said. “I’m basically just a farm girl. I felt out of place, and I didn’t think I stood a chance, but I guess I was wrong.”

Garrett’s father, Randy Garrett, said he was tickled to death when he heard Brittany was competing.

“When she was little, I always hoped she would run for fair queen, and when she said she wanted to do it, it made me as happy as can be,” her father said.

At the end of last year’s competition, Garrett’s parents were “bawling their eyes out,” Brittany Garrett said. Her mother, Carla Garrett, said one of the reasons she got emotional was that her speech touched on a lot of what her family had been through, including the death of Brittany’s grandfather.

“It really meant a lot just to hear her put it in her words,” Carla Garrett said. “You want to see you kids do well like that.”

Joining Brittany Garrett this year were 12 other pageant contestants. Pageant chairman Deborah Donovan said she thought that most girls enter the pageant for the scholarship money award. The Boone County Fair pageant offers $1,000 in scholarship money to the queen. The queen is asked to judge other contests in the area, making appearances at the fair every night and at other special events in the area, such as the MU Homecoming and Christmas parade and the Twilight Festival.

The girls debuted at the Boone County Fair parade this weekend. Following the parade, they had formal interviews with the five judges. This was their first round of judging. Last night, the girls went through the speech and talent portion of the competition. Garrett wrote a speech that highlighted what the Boone County Fair meant to her.

Garrett has participated in fair events for most of her life. For years, she showed hogs at the fair, even winning a $1,200 scholarship for her showing last year. She will be participating in the truck and tractor pull Thursday. She was even in a cutest baby contest.

Last night moved on to the evening gown competition where each contestant answered an impromptu question.

Then it was time.

The girls awaiting anxiously heard the judges name who had been picked to be in the top four. Worn out from a 2½-hour pageant, the girls were anxious. To her disappointment, Garrett’s name wasn’t called. But there is always next year.

Despite her loss, Garrett’s mother said she was still proud of her daughter.

“I know she did her best,” she said. “I’m really very proud of her. She looked beautiful.”

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