BCYF royalty crownedPublished 11:38pm Monday, August 13, 2012
The bleachers of the grandstand at the Berrien County Youth Fair filled up quickly Sunday evening as parents, family and friends gathered to cheer on local youth vying for top royalty spots.
The annual contests, which introduced the first Prince and Princess Contest this year, rally together several young fair exhibitors, displaying their talents and crowning the top contenders.
Each contest focused on the contestants’ fair exhibits and their thoughts on the fair. More than 40 youngsters entered the Prince and Princess Contest, followed by 15 local teens and young adults who vied for the king or queen position.
In the Prince and Princess Contest, Joshua Brown, 9, of Coloma, the son of Rodney and Victoria Brown, was named prince, along with Elizabeth Kuntz, 13, of Buchanan, the daughter of
Cindy and John Kuntz, who was named princess. Melissa Prestine, of Niles, who competed for five years in the Miss American Scholarship Program, emceed.
Brown’s stage question asked him to explain his involvement with a Home Depot Kids Camp. He said the camp allowed kids his age to make woodcrafts and learn the skills.
“His personality and stage presence,” Matt Bellina, judge and Purdue University Extension educator, said of the reason Brown was crowned.
Kuntz expressed a love for camping with her family during her stage question.
“They both showed a love for the fair,” Bellina said.
Judge Sheryl Podemski agreed.
“They both had wonderful personality and were very family-oriented,” Podemski said of why they were chosen.
After a short intermission, audiences stayed for the annual King and Queen Contest, which welcomed 10 young women and five young men to compete in a series of questions. After initial stage interviews were conducted, six finalists were called for a surprise random question. Finalists included Ethan Zeiger, 16, of Three Oaks; Alexandra Durm, of Niles; Clayton Helwig, of Coloma; Ashley Herr, 19, of Eau Claire; Mitchell Birk, 17, of St. Joseph; and Makailey Lang, 17, of Three Oaks. Judges included Matthew Kulis, of Buchanan, 2002 BCYF King, Laura Gamble, 2005 BCYF Queen, and “Wild Bill” Lewis.
Queen-elect Herr, a student at Iowa State University and an exhibitor of swine, poultry, rabbits and flowers, spoke of her involvement with Food at First, a group that makes hot meals for those less fortunate. The daughter of Ed and Jodie, Herr said she hopes to someday become a large animal veterinarian.
King-elect Zeiger, a student at River Valley High School and exhibitor in poultry, rabbits, swine, fine arts and crafts, expressed during his stage question his excitement for a future mission trip to Hungary. The son of Richard and Shelley, Zeiger said he plans to enlist in active-duty U.S. Army after high school.
After receiving their sashes and crowns, the fair royalty smiled and posed for pictures.
• BCYF Princess: Elizabeth Kuntz, Buchanan
• BCYF Prince: Joshua Brown, Coloma
• BCYF King, First Runner-Up: Mitchell Birk, St. Joseph
• BCYF Queen, First Runner-Up: Makailey Lang, Three Oaks
• BCYF King: Ethan Zieger, Three Oaks
• BCYF Queen: Ashley Herr, Eau Claire