GOSHEN — It’s official: Middlebury’s Emily Sue Yoder has been bitten by the pageant bug.
Yoder, who was crowned Elkhart County’s 2018 4-H Fair Queen last summer, took her next step along that path this past weekend by earning the second runner-up title as Miss Elkhart County during the 61st annual Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant.
Taking place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, the annual three-day pageant began Jan. 4 with contestants from 87 Indiana counties participating in the competition’s initial round of judge interviews.
“Then Saturday consisted of preliminary judging where we modeled our business attire, gave a speech and modeled our evening gowns,” Yoder said of the competition. “On Sunday they announced the top 16 who then gave their speech again and modeled their business attire. After that they announced the top 10 who modeled their evening attire and answered an on-stage question. Then they announced the top five and new queen.”
Halle Shoults, Miss Benton County, would ultimately end up taking the crown Sunday evening. She succeeds Audrey Campbell, Miss Fountain County.
Following Shoults in the placing lineup were:
• First runner-up: Maci French, Miss Boone County;
• Second runner-up: Emily Yoder, Miss Elkhart County;
• Third runner-up: Adrienne Rudolph, Miss Warrick County;
• Fourth runner-up: Jesse Mays, Miss Scott County; and
• Miss Congeniality: Emily Scott, Miss Gibson County.
“It was such an amazing experience and I had such a fun time,” Yoder said of her pageant experience and being named one of the top five competitors. “It was a pleasant surprise and I was shocked at how far I made it. It was super exciting! I love being on stage and just growing in my public speaking skills and onstage confidence. It’s so much fun!”
According to Yoder, last year’s Elkhart County 4-H Fair Queen competition was her first foray into the pageant world, and she is now officially hooked. In fact, Yoder said she plans on getting involved with the Miss America organization after she passes her crown on to the next Elkhart County 4-H Fair Queen this coming summer.
“I love pageants because they teach you so much and are such great experiences. I would highly recommend and encourage them,” Yoder said. “They help prepare you for life by teaching you interview skills and helping you write a resume. They help you grow as a person and gain confidence in yourself. Through pageants you learn public speaking skills, which I think are super important.”
Yoder, 19, is currently attending Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is double-majoring in Commercial Music and Worship Arts. She plans on going into ministry and becoming a worship pastor upon graduation.
John Kline can be reached at email@example.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 315. Follow John on Twitter @jkline_TGN