And the winner is…

By | August 25, 2018 6:53 am

Van Buren County Fairest of the Fair is MaKayla Mooneyham, who was also named Miss Congeniality. Sheridan Bouldin was named first runner up. See more pageant photos on 6A. (Photo by LOU ANN BANKS MYERS)

By Hansel Moore

Aug. 16 was the opening night of the abbreviated Van Buren County Fair. Young women were prepared to shine with their gowns, smiles, and poise.

It was the Fairest of the Fair pageant with contestants of various ages representing the county. The stands and parking areas were full, as two contestants for the crown were introduced and given the opportunity to answer a proposed question.   Makayla Mooneyham and Sheridan Bouldin appeared to be enjoying the event and were naturally comfortable with being in front of the crowd who was there to support them.

For Lina Young, it was her final moments as the reigning ambassador for the fair and Van Buren County. She has been a shining example for the community and a positive role model to younger girls. Her letter to the community was read aloud and tugged at the heartstrings of those who heard the words of appreciation to her parents, grandparents, and community.   As a senior at Van Buren High School, Young has her entire life’s path ahead of her.

Next, both contestants awaited the final verdict of who would be the next Fairest of the Fair. Anticipation mounted, as the culmination of all of the work came to a climax.

A miscommunication caused for much confusion during the announcement of the winner of the Fairest of the Fair.   The two contestants had an extended waiting period as the announcer conferred with the members of the fair board about the results. The initial proclamation by the emcee was revoked (twice), as the young ladies graciously awaited the outcome. For the observer, the angst was palpable, as emotions volleyed back and forth.

A final pronouncement was made that Makayla Mooneyham was indeed the one with the most votes. The young ladies embraced in a congratulatory greeting and posed for photographs.

Pageants are typically a place full of emotion. So much time, energy, and practice are put into sculpting a contestant for competition. There are many ups and downs and a spectrum of feelings.

The obviously embarrassed announcer attempted to quell some of the passionate reaction by calling the confusion, “ A Steve Harvey moment,” referring to a similar incident when he called the incorrect name at the 2015 Miss Universe contest.

Being involved in any live situation has the possibility of human error. Obviously, there was no intent to create a negative experience for the contestants or the community.   Reality is that on the big stage: lights go out, people fall down, costumes malfunction, performers forget their lines, and yes – wrong results are called out. In the grand scheme of life, everyone was blessed to have witnessed two outstanding individuals with grace, poise, and dignity remain standing tall in a challenging situation.

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