Area queens compete for Blossomtime crown

Community queens from around southwest Michigan competed for the title of 2016 Miss Blossomtime during the pageant Monday evening. Among those participating was Miss Niles Allison Suckle. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Community queens from around southwest Michigan competed for the title of 2016 Miss Blossomtime during the pageant Monday evening. Among those participating was Miss Niles Allison Suckle. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Fitting with the pageant’s theme of “Blossomtime’s Greatest Hits,” the young women representing the communities of Niles, Buchanan, Dowagiac, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg on the Mendel Center stage Monday night exemplified the best qualities of their hometowns.

Local community queens were among the 23 ladies across southwest Michigan vying for the crown of 2016 Miss Blossomtime that evening during the annual beauty pageant, which took place at Lake Michigan College.

Representing local communities that night were:

• Miss Buchanan Madeline Hemphill, the daughter of Brad and Brenda Hemphill

• Miss Edwardsburg Courtney Yoder, the daughter of Jeff and Wendy Yoder

• Miss Heart of Blossomtime (representing Dowagiac) Elizabeth Stockwell, the daughter of Eugene and Denise Stockwell.

• Miss Niles Allison Suckle, the daughter of Jay and Carla Suckle.

• Miss Cassopolis Stacey Horstmann, the daughter of Douglas and Susan Horstmann.

Hemphill, Suckle and Horstmann made it through the first round of eliminations, placing in the top 10.

Winning the title of Miss Blossomtime was Miss Coloma Ashley Sipla, the daughter of Todd and Jennifer Sipla. When asked by event co-host Lainie Lu Van Behren who she would like to thank for helping her get to this point, Sipla, still holding back tears, simply replied that she wanted to “thank God.”

“I’ve gone here ever since I was a little girl,” Sipla said. “I’ve always dreamed of this moment.”

Rounding out the 2016 Blossomtime Court of Honor is First Runner-up Rachel Carle, Miss St. Joseph; Second Runner-up Ally Sinclair, Miss Hartford; and Miss Congeniality Aliea Chapin, Miss Spirit of Blossomtime.

While not receiving any crowns, several of the local queens were recognized through awards and scholarships. Horstmann, Stockwell and Suckle were all recognized for selling more than $1,000 worth of “good luck” ads in the programs sold during the ceremony. Yoder received the People’s Choice award, while Horstmann received the Volunteer scholarship.

The outgoing 2015 Miss Blossomtime Court of Honor, which included Buchanan’s Marissa Claxton and Dowagiac’s Alyssa Wainwright, were also a prominent part of Monday’s pageant, crowing their successors as well describing their experiences throughout the past year.

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