Madelyn Guss of Warrenton was crowned queen of the Warren County Fair Sunday evening after weeks of friendly competition with seven other young ladies.
The contest was ultimately decided by contests of speech and talent, interview response, and evening gown fashion, leading to an evening coronation at the county fairgrounds in Warrenton.
The eight candidates entertained spectators to the coronation Sunday with a dance, before each had her turn to be introduced while strolling across the stage in colorful dresses. There was a mix of excitement, nerves, calm, and some humor as the queen candidates got cheers from supporters in the audience.
Guss has a history with the Warren County Fair. She has shown animals and participated in events as a member of 4-H for a number of years. She told queen contest officiants that she was seeking the title because she been a part of the Fair for so long, and likes to help others enjoy the Fair as well.
Before being announced as queen, Guss and her top competitors relayed their answers to an interview question about the qualities of a good role model. The eventual queen seemed at ease while delivering her answer.
“A good role model should have leadership skills and be able to talk to people well. You can use these skills through organizations like 4-H or FFA, or in your ‘real life,’ like your job or just getting to know new people,” Guss replied.
Guss took top honors in the interview and evening gown portions of the competition. She also helped sell the most Warren County Fair passes out of the queen candidates this year.
Guss is the daughter of Mike and Wendy Guss. She is planning to attend classes at St. Charles Community College before transferring to the University of Missouri-Columbia and studying to be an agronomist.
The business sponsor for Guss was B&J Printing.
The first runner-up for the competition is Lilly Sargent. The daughter of Katie and Shane Sargent, she also is the 2017 Strassenbash Festival Queen. Sargent is one of the most active competitors in Wright City sports, joining five athletic teams this year. She said soccer and basketball are among her favorite.
She plans to attend premedical courses at University of Missouri-Kansas City and hopes to become a veterinarian. Sargent was sponsored by Schraer Heating and Air Conditioning.
McKenzie Branson is the second runner-up in the queen contest, and the winner of the speech or talent portion. She is another active member of 4-H, and an avid shooting sports competitor who attended the 2017 Junior Olympics in Colorado. She is the daughter of Walter and Delanna Branson.
McKenzie joined the queen competition because she loves working with the community and experiencing new things. She plans to attend technical school and become a traveling welder.
Her sponsor was Orscheln Farm and Home.
A special honor among the queen candidates was the title of Miss Congeniality, which went to Jessica Jarvis. The title goes to the candidate voted by her fellow contestants for being funny, smart, and admired by her peers.
Jarvis plans to become a pharmaceutical sales rep. She is the daughter of Greg and Nancy Jarvis. Her sponsor was Paparazzi by Kim Hampton.
“These girls have been truly amazing to get to know and watch grow throughout this entire competition,” commented reigning 2018 Fair Queen Ana Russel. “It was all such an amazing adventure. ... They have all done a truly wonderful job.”
The queen and her court are spending this week at the Warren County Fair, and will be present at many of the events and livestock shows. The fairgrounds are located at 615 Fairgrounds Road in Warrenton.