Hail to Bud Prince

Published 1:03 pm Thursday, March 3, 2005

By By JOHN EBY / Cassopolis Vigilant
Austin Green, 6, of Vandalia, and Ombreyanna Kopaceski, 9, of Benton Harbor won the Blossomtime Festival Bud Prince and Princess Pageant, "Welcome to Sweet Streets," Saturday evening in the theater of the Dale A. Lyons Building on Southwestern Michigan College's Dowagiac campus.
Jacqueline Nate of Dowagiac, the 7-year-old daughter of Mark and JoAnn Nate, finished first runner-up from 30 girls from Cass, Berrien and Van Buren counties.
First-runner up to the Bud Prince was Dakota Bayle, 8, a second grader at Eagle Lake Elementary School in Edwardsburg. Dakota's parents are Joseph Vanmarter and Elizabeth Crafton.
A full house of more than 300 people watched the three-hour contest coronating Austin and Ombreyanna.
Austin, son of Jim and Vicki Green, attends first grade at Squires Elementary School in Cassopolis. He was selected from 12 boys. Ombreyanna, daughter of Detrick Buck and CaSandra Kopaceski, attends fourth grade at Lybrook Elementary School in Eau Claire.
After an opening dance routine featuring the 42 contestants carrying oversized pieces of candy, 2004 Prince Andrew Boyer of Edwardsburg and 2004 Princess Lexi Martin, the youngsters introduced themselves by telling what comes to mind when they "dream of sweets."
For Austin it's hot fudge sundaes. Ombreyanna answered banana splits.
Austin stands 4-foot-2, with light brown hair and brown eyes. His interests include freestyle wrestling, baseball, reading and playing outside. He belongs to Penn Friends 4-H and St. Ann's Catholic Church.
Ombreyanna, 4-foot-7, with brown hair and eyes, enjoys school, Sunday school, cheerleading and spending time with her family, which includes three sisters and three brothers. Austin has a brother and a sister.
Second runner-up to the Bud Prince is Robert Fellows, 7, a first grader at Coloma's Washington Elementary School and the son of Daniel and Rhonda Fellows.
Second runner-up to the Bud Princess is Zoey Kay, 7, of Sawyer. The second grader at Immanuel Lutheran in Bridgman is the daughter of Joshua and Michelle Kay.
Two silent eliminations pared the field by 13 girls and four boys, then 12 girls and three boys for judges Tom Walton, Sam Schultz and Cathy Averill to reach five finalists, who also included: Jenna Rydleski, 7, of St. Joseph, and Madisen Rye, 7, of Coloma; Austin Bertuca, 7, of Coloma; and Gavin Jackson, 6, of Watervliet.
Princess contestants also included: Bailey McCarty of Buchanan, Sara Scharnowske of Stevensville, Madison Lohraff of St. Joseph, Gabriella Schirripa of Niles, Lauren Eyerly of Baroda, Katie Bayle of Edwardsburg, Kylee Burger of St. Joseph, Eliza Doan of Stevensville, Taylor Bohn of Baroda, Tela Lilly of St. Joseph, Elizabeth Smith of St. Joseph, Madison Scott of Benton Harbor, Monica Ward of Cassopolis, Ema Helfrich of Stevensville, Chaicee Jacobs of Edwardsburg, Sydnie Green of Coloma, Kimber Nieusma-Gano of Stevensville, Brooke Hollingsworth of Galien, Mollie Hyatt of Dowagiac, Ashley Weber of Stevensville, Morgan Sisson of South Haven, April Pliley of Baroda, Kaylee Sapp of Eau Claire, Taylor Krugh of Eau Claire and Alexis Tober of Benton Harbor.
Prince contestants also included: Nicholas Hollacher of St. Joseph, Steven Reed of St. Joseph, Brennan Combs of Paw Paw, Chandler Kraus of Cassopolis, Jacob Shafer of Benton Harbor, Alec Nieusma-Gano of Stevensville and Austin Hampton of Stevensville.
Mistress of Ceremonies was Amanda Morlock of Watervliet, first runner-up for 2004 Michigan Apple Queen. Angela Widdis chaired the pageant, which featured entertainment interludes by vocalists Kristen Hook and Beth DeCoursey and ballerina Sarah Briney.