Jessica Bradford, 17, of Boonville was crowned the Miss Warrick County 4-H Fair Queen 2019 on Saturday night at the 4-H Center.
While Lydia Moesner of Boonville won first-runner up, Kendall Johnson of Newburgh won second-runner up and Miss Congeniality, Breanna Metzger of Tennyson won third-runner up.
Faith Adams of Chandler, Rachel Dunlap of Newburgh, Natalie Goff of Boonville, Whitney Heirdorn of Tennyson, Opal Herr of Boonville and Korissa Mehling of Newburgh also all participated.
The contest started off with each candidate showing off their best business attire, before delivering short speeches they had prepared to the audience. Bradford's speech included her instructing the audience to make the "OK" symbol with their right hand and hold it up. She then asked them to put that circle on their chin, even though she actually placed it on her cheek.
"Did you catch that?" Bradford said. "I instructed you to place it on your chin."
The future queen then explained how important being a role model is.
"I have learned that people are much more likely to follow what you do, than what you say," she said. "Nothing kills credibility faster than not practicing what is preached. A good role model must be aware of what they are preaching and make it a point to apply it to their own lives."
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As a dance instructor, Bradford said she does this all of the time.
"If the dancers are not picking up on the steps, I know I must act in a positive, calm and confident manner in order to achieve a better objective," she said. "Doing so always results in the dancers being more confident and they are then ready for an elegant dance on stage."
Bradford then asked the audience to think about who looks up to them.
"Are you practicing what you preach?" she said. "Now, as a role model for 'the you' ahead, remember they are much more likely to follow what you do, as opposed to what you say."
During the second half of the contest, the candidates donned glamorous evening gowns and had to give short yet sweet answers about what a pre-selected word given to them by host Ryan O'Bryan, including selfless, success, thankful and humble, meant to them. Bradford's word was "kind."
"When I hear 'kind,' I think of the amazing people I have grown up within the 4-H program," she said. "These people all have been my role models and I hope to be just as kind as them."
Bradford, who is homeschooled and will be a high school senior this fall, also won the People's Choice award, which was voted on by the audience throughout the night.
While the judges deliberated, escorts Noah Reff and Alex Herrenbruck entertained the audience with some freestyle dance moves and an impromptu ballroom dance lesson. Reigning fair queen, Adrienne Rudolph, also gave a farewell speech.
"In my last 10 years, I learned how to cook, sew, take pictures properly, publicly speak without fear, be a leader, be a winner, be a loser. But most importantly, be a friend," she said. "I truly believe if I had never been a part of this program, I would be bored, sitting at home with no desire to do anything."
Rudolph then thanked all of the parents who put their kids in the 4-H program.
"And told them to get over it and suck it up' -- props to you," she said. "Hopefully, one day [your kids] they will be standing on this stage thanking you for making them do it."
Rudolph ended her tearful goodbye by giving advice to soon-to-be-queen Bradford.
"Soak it in, listen to your heart and be the change you'd want your role model to make for you," she said. "Take advantage of every opportunity and don't blink because the time will fly and you'd wish you could get it back."