|7/14/2017 4:00:00 AM|
|The Times photo by Betsy Reason|
Sheridan’s Rachel Adams shakes as she receives flowers just after being named 2016 Hamilton County 4-H Fair Queen, before she receives her crown.
It's been an amazing year for Sheridan's Rachel Adams, who was crowned the 2016 Hamilton County 4-H Fair Queen a year ago.
She joined the pageant competition, following in her sister, Courtney's footsteps, and to gain a "learning" experience.
"I had no idea I had what it took to be Miss Hamilton County, and I think that's why I appreciate it so much. It's a legacy....," said Rachel, whose photo joined pictures of past 4-H Fair queens that line the hallway of the Exhibition Center at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds in Noblesville.
"To be Miss Hamilton County is an honor, and I'm really appreciative that I was chosen to be her," she said.
The daughter of Chris and Jennifer Adams, she will be senior at Sheridan High School. The 5-foot-9-inch green-eyed blonde, whose favorite 4-H project is Food Preparation, is a ninth-year 4-H'er and a member of Sheridan Ag Club.
This week, as she is feeling "very bittersweet" about passing on her crown tonight at the 2017 Hamilton County 4-H Fair Queen Pageant, Rachel looked back at the 2016 4-H Fair and her "very interesting" year as Queen.
"When the Fair came, it was a very hot one, but that didn't stop the fun. My court and I found ways to cool off with milkshakes and air conditioning during lunch breaks in the cafeteria," she said. "We tried our hardest to be present at all the events and cherish the memories that would come with it."
Her favorite memory was showing a sheep for the first time in an open-participation show. "Each member of the court got to show one," she said.
Besides learning that "Queen hair with the crown can be difficult," she learned a lot about herself, including that it's OK not to be perfect, but "it is important to be innovative and flexible," and she learned about "creative improvising."
Rachel also learned that she was the "face" for 4-H, a role model and an ambassador whose "expressions" and interactions with others were watched closely and idolized by future 4-H'ers.
"What I really enjoyed about my time as Queen was that little girls, even some boys, wanted to be in 4-H because they saw me there at all the events," she said.
After the 4-H Fair, she made appearances, including some holiday parades.
Rachel, 17, didn't compete in the State Fair Queen contest in January due to age requirements. Each State Fair Queen contestant must be at least 18 years of age and cannot have reached their 22nd birthday on or before June 1. Rachel was 16 during the county 4-H Fair, which requires contestants to be at least 16 years of age and no more than 20 by June 1.
But she did attend the State Fair Queen meet-and-greet and said, "It was very cool to see all counties dressed with crowns and sashes."
Today at 7 p.m., Rachel will reign over the 2017 4-H Fair Queen Contest, deliver her farewell speech and crown the 2017 4-H Fair Queen, to be chosen from 16 candidates.
Her advice to contestants: "Be yourself, because that's when you're most comfortable."
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