Warren County Fair Queen Kelsey Miller was named the 2023 Missouri State Fair Queen at the event in Sedalia.
Kelsey Miller became Warren County royalty in July when she was crowned queen of the 2023 fair.
Now the Jonesburg resident and 2023 Warrenton High School graduate is expanding her kingdom.
Miller was crowned as Miss Missouri State Fair 2023, adding the title to her list of achievements this year that also includes being elected as a statewide vice president for the Missouri FFA and winning senior showmanship for market rabbit at this year's fair.
"I was very surprised," Miller said. "I did not think that I would have won this year. I came in thinking I would get some experience and then come back again and try next year."
Miller was not scheduled to compete in the Missouri State Fair Queen competition as Warren County's representative until 2024. She was in this year's pageant because she also was the Northeast District FFA Expo Queen.
"I figured I'd take this as a practice year," Miller said. "But turns out I was what they were looking for."
Warren County R-III School Board President Franci Schwartz celebrated the news.
"Being selected as Missouri State Fair Queen gives our community another reason to be proud of her, and I can’t wait to see her future achievements," Schwartz said in an email to The Record.
Miller credits Warren County for helping her achieve the state crown.
"I feel that the community has given me something to look forward to," she said. "It has helped me get to where I am today by always making sure that I know that someone is pushing me forward. And so I want to make sure that I'm bringing that energy from the Warren County Fair to our Missouri State Fair and helping other people."
Miller was the “perfect pick” to represent Warren County, Fair Queen Committee Chair Ellie Stapleton said after the queen pageant in July.
“I think she’s awesome. She is amazing,” Stapleton said. “She’s been in the livestock barn since she was little. She knows what she’s doing. She has the public speaking skills, she has the people skills.”
Miller is now the third state fair queen from Warren County since 2013. She joins 2013 Queen Ashley Bauer and 2014 Queen Hannah Keene, both of whom were from Warrenton.
"Being named the Missouri State Fair queen was such an honor because it allowed me to expand my network within the agriculture industry and act as an advocate for the industry, not only for the Missouri State Fair but all throughout Missouri," Bauer said. "I can only imagine what Kelsey has in store for her year, traveling to various parts of Missouri and interacting with not only people who work in agriculture every single day of their life, but getting to explain to those who maybe don't understand where their food comes from or ... don't understand what it takes to be part of agriculture. She is going to be that liaison, that connection between those who may not be part of the agricultural world and those who aren't day to day.
"So I think she's got a busy and exciting year ahead of her and I wish her the best. I'm excited for her!" Bauer said.
Bauer said Warren County is home to three fair queens because of the community's dedication.
"I think that having a community filled with a strong commitment to encourage youth to be involved in agriculture and expanding their horizons and their opportunities through 4H and through FFA and through the fair is probably one of the many reasons why Warren County has been able to turn out three different state fair queens in the last 10 years," she said. "Warren County is proud of her and it's great to see another young woman in agriculture from Warren County being named the Missouri State Fair Queen and I wish her well this year and I'm always here if she needs help!"
Even though Miller was not directly representing Warren County at this pageant, she's still looking forward to using what she's learned in her home county as she prepares for her new role.
"I'm so excited to be able to represent Warren County and the Warrenton area as Missouri State Fair queen," Miller said. "I feel that is truly where I have learned all of my skills, whether it's my teachers, my family members, anybody in Warren County, the community members who have helped me get to where I am today. I just want to let them know that I am very thankful for them and that they have helped bring me to where I am now."
The Missouri State Fair began Aug. 10 and runs through Aug. 20 at the fairgrounds in Sedalia.
About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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