Here she comes! Several of the state’s most accomplished young ladies strode across the stage and wowed the audience with their beauty, elegance and knowledge of agriculture at the Miss Alabama Agriculture Pageant 2010.
The pageant afforded young women scholarship opportunities along with a chance to serve as an agriculture spokesperson for Alabama farmers and was held by the Clanton Evening Lion’s Club on July 30 and 31 at the Chilton High School auditorium.
The Clanton Evening Lion’s Club reestablished the great legacy ALFA Young Farmers Division began. The theme of the club’s inaugural debut of Miss Alabama Agriculture 2010 was "Rhinestones and Wranglers."
Miss Alabama Agriculture Director, Barry Rowe, was delighted to be selected to coordinate the pageant and had a great team of volunteers to help him put on an exciting event in which several of the state’s most lovely, intelligent young ladies could participate.
"The opportunity for the Clanton Evening Lion’s Club to continue this pageant to afford young ladies opportunities for scholarships they may not otherwise have been afforded is very important to each member," Rowe said.
Miss Alabama Agriculture 2009, Casey East, was thankful the Lions Club had decided to continue the legacy of the pageant.
"It is such a wonderful experience for young ladies who care about agriculture," East said. "Agriculture is our state’s largest industry, so the winner has a lot of responsibility in promoting it."
Throughout East’s reign, she learned many local farmers and their families found young women’s dedication and interest in agriculture to be refreshing.
"I made it my goal to let them know how much I appreciate what they do for all of us and how important they are," East said.
East is ready to start recruiting girls for the 2011 pageant. She will also be directing five local pageants in the Wiregrass area.
"I hope to increase participation from all of the counties in this area," East said.
Each county represented in the 2010 pageant had selected a contestant to participate. The contestants earned the opportunity to compete for the state title either by winning a local agriculture pageant or by receiving permission from their county’s farmer’s federation.
The Lion’s Club hosted a weekend of rehearsals and activities to entertain the contestants as they prepared for their big night. After the first day of rehearsal, the contestants attended a dinner where they each brought an item representing them and shared it with the group.
Each contestant delivered touching and powerful stories and messages with their items and bonded during the sharing session.
Hanna Yeargan, Miss Crenshaw County, said she enjoyed being a contestant and made friendships that will last a lifetime.
"Every girl was beautiful, smart and had a lot of knowledge about Alabama agriculture, but we each learned even more about it through the previous year’s queen and also from each other," Yeargan said. "The pageant was a great experience and taught me how to handle pressure and how to think on my feet. I would love to participate in it again."
The contestants showed poise and intelligence as they competed in interview, casual wear and evening wear categories. During the casual wear competition, the contestants delivered a short speech on why they would make the best spokesperson for Alabama agriculture.
Miss Pike County Agriculture Queen, Dresden Green, expressed her passion for agriculture and what the pageant means to her.
"By being in FFA, I have learned farmers are the backbone of America and that by having a Miss Alabama Agriculture she would represent how agriculture affects us daily," Green said. "As the spokesperson for Alabama farmers, Miss Alabama Agriculture helps educate citizens on how agriculture is the number one industry and how important it is in our lives every day."
Green said her experience throughout the program was amazing.
"I met so many intelligent girls who will one day have a great impact on the agriculture industry," Green said. "I had so much fun and will do it again. I would hope the Miss Alabama Agriculture Pageant would continue for years to come as it is a scholarship opportunity for girls."
At the closing of the pageant, the girls, now a group of friends, elegantly stood waiting for the night’s results. Smiling and gracious, the group supported their friends who were recognized.
Miss Elmore County, Whitney Collier, won Miss Congeniality; Miss Pike County, Dresden Green, won the honor of highest ad sales; Miss Crenshaw County, Hanna Yeargan, won Miss Casual Wear; Miss Autauga County, Jessica Pittman won 1st alternate and Miss Chilton County, Allison Cobb, won the Viewer’s Choice award and the title of Miss Alabama Agriculture 2010.
Cobb expressed what her new title means to her.
"To have the opportunity to represent my home state of Alabama to promote agriculture, our number one industry, is such a great feeling," Cobb said. "I have represented Chilton County agriculture through two different titles, Miss Peach Queen and Miss Chilton County, so I am thrilled to now be representing agriculture on the state level."
Cobb said, when she won the Chilton County title, she was notified there would no longer be an opportunity to participate at the state level. She then found out this past spring she would be able to participate due to the new sponsorship of the Clanton Evening Lion’s Club.
"To actually win Miss Alabama Agriculture has been surreal," Cobb said.
Cobb said the pageant benefits the agricultural community and allows Miss Alabama Agriculture to travel around the state promoting farmers and agriculture.
She said she enjoyed having the opportunity to meet the other girls in the pageant from all over the state along with Casey East.
"I had so much fun watching all of the girls’ speeches on Friday because it showed all of the different personalities," Cobb said. "It was nice getting to know them on a personal level."
Rowe expressed his excitement over the results of the pageant.
"It was a great success," Rowe said. "We look forward to having Allison meet as many farmer’s federation members across the sate this coming year to promote Alabama farmers and all of the agriculture commodities."
Anyone interested in holding a preliminary pageant in their county may contact Rowe who is the state director for more information.
Abounding exquisiteness, intelligence and agriculture are just a few qualities that compose Alabama, The Beautiful.
Jade Currid is an intern with Cooperative Farming News.