MOUNT VERNON -- The Knox County Fair kicked off Sunday morning with the end of an era and the start of a new reign.
Sarah Hohman and Curt Ashcraft, 2008 Knox County Fair Queen and King, respectively, handed down their titles and responsibilities to Becky Shaffer and Bernie Douglas as the duo from Fredericktown were marked with the honor.
Judges Ashley Rowe Armstrong, Clay Lamb and Leona Robinson deliberated for a considerable amount of time before naming the new royalty. The results were based on an application, an interview, which took place last week, and speeches presented Sunday.
It was his interaction with a fair king as a first-year 4-H’er that set Douglas on his journey to Sunday’s recognition. In his speech, Douglas said he was brokenhearted when he failed to earn a ribbon during his first year of showing animals. When he left the show ring, the fair king gave him a pat on the back and told him he did a good job. From that day on, he said, he has worked toward this goal.
“This is awesome,” Douglas said. “This is a great honor.”
Douglas was appreciative of his competition, friend and classmate runner-up Neil Brown.
“We’ve grown up together, we’ve shown steers together and he’s a good friend of mine,” said Douglas.
Shaffer told the judges and audience that she believes the title of queen is more than just a sash and tiara. The purpose of queen is that of a role model, someone who will go the extra mile to make a difference in someone else’s life.
“I’m in shock really. I didn’t think I’d get it,” Shaffer said. “I’ve tried my hardest through the years and I’ve gotten involved with everything I could in 4-H and school. I’m really proud to be here, and I’m honored.”
Janelle Mickley was named queen runner-up.
Prior to the King and Queen contest, the Knox County Fair Board dedicated the 2009 fair book, published by the Mount Vernon News, to former board member Denny Irwin, who passed away earlier this year. Irwin’s wife, Betty, accepted a book signed by board members.