Fair Queen, Princess
Wed, 07/05/2017 - 1:14pm admin
—Two Peas in a Pod
Kim Soukup TPD Staff
CRESCO - This year was the first year in 29 years of crowning a fair queen that Howard County also crowned; not a runner-up, rather a fair Princess. Samantha Bigalk (daughter of Scott and Terra) was crowned the Mighty Howard County Fair Queen and Emma Mannery (daughter of Robin Schluter) was crowned Fair Princess.
The girls are like two peas in a pod as they finish each other’s sentences, laugh at the same things and plan on attending the same college after their senior year in high school.
The concept of queen and princess was first brought to the table by Kandise Hauber, 2016 Queen. And it works.
“The idea was to try and split up fair responsibilities,” said Bigalk.
“Like yesterday while I was handing out ribbons at the pig show, Sami was helping with the food judging,” said Mannery.
“And then we met up for the dog show,” said Bigalk.
Both were surprised at being crowned Queen and Princess.
“I am really not that kind of person and don’t necessarily do well with people,” shared Bigalk.
Hard to believe since she also won Miss Congeniality by her peers.
“This experience taught me to open up and be more social,” she stated.
“And to be honest, I was shocked,” said Mannery. “I decided at the last minute, like two days before everything was due, to try. I am happy for her. We are best friends.”
Both Bigalk and Mannery are active participants in showing. Bigalk showed three horses, two rabbits, two heifers and a cow/calf pair. Mannery showed two horses. Wednesday, both showed in judged classes and on Saturday both competed in timed events with their horses.
Being fair royalty comes with a price. It’s called being “exhausted 24/7.”
“I got up at 5 a.m. every day and left every day at 11:30 p.m.,” said Bigalk. “Our moms are social butterflies. They probably got us more involved than we would have done on our own.”
“I didn’t get up that early every day but I got up at 4 a.m. one morning because I had to ride my horse at the barn in Preston,” added Mannery.
The young ladies both plan on attending college together, either North Dakota State or Oklahoma State and even have a business venture they are planning.
“One of my heifers will be going to the Winneshiek County Fair, and I plan on getting another one started for school to help with college funds,” Bigalk explained. “But Emma and I have a business planned out too. We plan on taking a two-year-old colt and I will train the colt.”
“I will ride them and teach techniques, and then we plan on selling the horse as a finished pleasure horse,” added Mannery.
“We’re not sure if this will work out but that is our plan,” said Bigalk.
Highlights for the pair are surprisingly different. For Bigalk, one of her main highlights was getting to meet the younger kids and getting to help them in the show room. For Mannery, she really enjoyed the contests, livestock shows and the cool contests that kids do.
Highlights and the five days as Queen and Princess are just a piece of the pie and these two are aware of the responsibility of those roles.
“We are representing Howard County,” said Bigalk. “We have parades, and I have the Iowa State Fair to be part of but we are also role models for the younger kids.”
Mannery agreed. “We are representing Howard County for the rest of the year until the next fair queen and princess are crowned. That means representing Howard County everywhere we go . . . school, home, other towns and at fairs and parades.”
And with the wisdom credited to elders, Bigalk and Mannery had sound words of advice for young people who may dream of fair Queen or Princess in their future.
“Just be yourself,” confided Bigalk. “Don’t be afraid. Don’t make choices on what everyone else is doing. Make your own way and never lose sight of your dream.”
Mannery added, “Be positive all the time. Don’t follow the crowd because the crowd always changes.”
And just like that, in a blink of an eye, fair week is done and over, but these two young ladies have solid plans, a sold friendship and seemingly a future that will be defined by dreams, strong minds and endless spirit.