18 girls compete for title
Miss Ripley County chosen

Wanda English Burnett

Sarah Wenning had great stage presence that took the eye of the judges at the 2011 Miss Ripley County Pageant held Sunday evening, July 10 at the Damm Theatre in Osgood. She looked regal in her shimmering emerald colored gown as she took the 2011 coveted title of Miss Ripley County.

Wenning’s parents, Paul and Sandy, joined her on stage immediately after the pageant. As they congratulated their daughter, they said this was her first time to be in a pageant. The 19-year-old said she would describe herself as shy, but told the Osgood Journal she is looking forward to being with people at the upcoming 4-H fair. “I will enjoy handing out awards,” she said. She said she looks forward to representing her community. She is a graduate of Jac-Cen-Del High School and will be a sophomore at the University of Southern Indiana.

The newly crowned queen said she joined the pageant because of her friend, Kristin Konradi, who also took honors. She was named Miss Congeniality and first runner-up in the pageant. The two friends said they will enjoy the festivities at the fair together. “It will be a great week,” noted Wenning, who also took the Formal Wear award with her friend, Kristin, taking the Professional Wear award. “What a night,” they agreed.

Fourth runner-up went to Courtney Smith, third runner-up to Meghan Wanstrath, second runner-up to Jessica Osborne, and the People’s Choice Treasure Box award going to Kristen Walston, who brought in the most money. The Treasure Box project is money the girls collect to be given to the local food bank. They raised a total of $780.00.

Each girl was asked to answer an unprepared question in front of the audience. Jessica Osborne pulled her question, which was, “If you had a son or daughter, what lesson would you want to teach them?” Osborne didn’t waver when she answered, “I would teach them the most important thing is to have faith in God.”

Courtney Smith said her most meaningful achievement was her school work where she found her love for engineering.

Some of the questions were more personal. When asked what her biggest disappointment in life has been, Katelyn Huffman, 16, newcomer to the pageant arena, told the crowd, “losing my grandpa. It made me realize I need to live my life better.” With only a slight emotion, she held steady and looked beautiful in her white gown adorned with a large teal sash.

One of the contestants, Stephanie Broadus got a surprise as the girls sang “Happy Birthday” to her on stage. She told the crowd she would encourage girls to join the pageant because it is so much fun.
In her deep purple gown, Meghan Wanstrath told the crowd if she gave advice on teens who feel they don’t like their looks, she would say they’re not alone.

Mary Beth Hackman, chair of the event, noted that even with 18 contestants, the pageant ran smoothly. “They were all great to work with,” she told the Osgood Journal as the pageant concluded.
The contestants’ gowns reflected a colorful extravaganza from deep bold hues to creamy beige and even white. They captured the audience’s attention from the moment they danced their way onto the stage brandishing swords, bandannas, eye patches, even a parrot perched on a shoulder, keeping to The Black Pearls pirate’s theme of the evening.

The girls were judged on private interviews that took place earlier that day, the modeling of professional wear and finally the evening gown presentation.

Miss Ripley County 2011, Sarah Wenning, was awarded the Queen’s Scholarship of $850. This was compliments of the Versailles Lions Club, Tri Kappa, Osgood Lions Club, The Friendship State Bank and Ripley County Pork Producers. She was also given a crown, sash, plaque, and flowers on stage. She will reign over the 2011 Ripley County 4-H Fair July 17-23 at the fairgrounds park in Osgood.
The pageant was emceed by 2010 Miss Ripley County Julie Hoffrogge and committee chair Penny Moore. Also, Miss Indiana 2010, Sara Alford (Wells County) spoke to the crowd and helped with crowning the new queen.

Hackman said she has a great crew consisting of Becky Harmeyer, Monica Hansen, Sara Comer, Leasa Nay, Krystal McBride, Amanda Kunz and Penny Moore.

The Judge’s Chair was Krystal McBride with the judges being: Ruthann Meyer, Sydney Pike and Amanda Krall.

The pirate’s decorations consisted of treasure chests filled with jewels, pirates’ hats, swords, etc. A beautiful centerpiece was the focal point of the stage and was created by the Cottage Garden in Napoleon. It had Bird of Paradise among tropical greenery inside a treasure chest ordered specifically for the occasion, according to Amanda Kunz, committee member.

“It takes a lot of people to make the pageant work,” Hackman said. She thanked husbands, who were on hand to help with decorations, Hunter’s Photography, the contestants, the parents in the audience and all who had a part in making it a great evening to remember.

Sarah Wenning, left, was crowned 2011 Miss Ripley County by last year's queen, Julie Hoffrogge, pictured right. The pageant was held at the Damm Theatre in Osgood with a full house. Miss Congeniality and first runner-up went to Kristin Konradi, fourth runner-up went to Courtney Smith, third runner up to Meghan Wanstrath and second runner-up to Jessica Osborne.