Court was in session Tuesday afternoon as the 10 contestants for the 2013 Miss Decatur County Pageant gathered at the Decatur County Community Schools Administration building to begin running their paces.
Barb Waechter has been the pageant’s director 25 years, and said she’s as excited as ever about the 2013 edition. The girls for this year’s contest, she said, are all enthusiastic, congenial and outgoing; any one of them, she added, would make a terrific representative for Decatur County.
Reigning Miss Decatur County, Lauren Kinker, echoed those sentiments.
“I know some of these girls,” Kinker said. “Others, I’m just getting to know. They all have great personalities. I’m really excited for all of them. It’s just too bad only one of them can win.”
Each of the girls warmed up Tuesday for the busy schedule ahead by speaking briefly with the Daily News about Miss Decatur County, why they’ve entered and what they hope to take away from the experience.
Eighteen-year-old Tori Weber competed in last year’s Miss Decatur County and said she’s happy to return for 2013. The North Decatur High School (NDHS) Senior lives and was raised on a farm and believes her experiences there have made her not only a good contestant, but also a good potential representative of Decatur County.
Many of the girls mentioned similar experiences, especially those gained in 4-H.
Morgan Tomson, 18, for instance, is a longtime 4-H participant who competes at the County Fair every year in 4-H events. She intends to study animal science and pharmaceuticals in college.
The 2013 Miss Decatur County Pageant marks Tomson’s first-ever beauty pageant. Still, it was neither 4-H nor her love of animals which led Tomson to enter.
“My grandma, Judy Tomson, won it in 1963,” Tomson explained. “She gave me a face she always uses she wants me to do something and told me how much it would mean to her, so I decided to give it a try.”
Nineteen-year-old Keri Deck arranged her college classes for next semester to be ready in case she wins the crown. Deck, herself a 10-year member of 4-H before graduating high school, said the time was right to enter her first-ever beauty pageant.
Ericka Carmen, 18, who graduated Greensburg Community High School this month, is something of an old hand at such competitions. Carmen was named Miss Tree City at the 2011 Greensburg Fall Festival, relinquishing the crown in September to her successor. She will begin studying nursing at the University of Indianapolis this fall.
Recent NDHS Graduate Erica Wilson, 18, will enter Vincennes University this fall, majoring in General Studies, her ultimate goal to earn a doctorate in Zoology at IU. Wilson is participating in her first beauty pageant as well and described it as “something to add to my activities list.”
Abigail Lamb, 17, a Senior at NDHS said she entered the 2013 pageant because she’s finally old enough to do it and because “I’ve always wanted to do it.”
Like Tomson, Miss Decatur County is something of a family tradition for Lamb, as her mother also once competed in the pageant, winning Miss Congeniality.
GCHS graduate Molly Wilcox, 18, who’ll begin studying for a career in pediatric nursing this fall at Indiana State University, described entering her first-ever beauty pageant as something that she felt would “be awesome to do.”
“Even if I don’t win,” she said, “I think it’ll be a great life experience. I’m thankful for the opportunity to do something like this and for all the friends and new people I’ll get to meet by participating.”
Katelin Schomber, 19, a graduate of NDHS, just completed her first year as an Entrepreneurship Major at the University of Indianapolis.
“I competed in Miss Decatur County last year,” Schomber said. “I won 2nd runner-up. That really helped work up the confidence to enter again this year. The judges from last year were really great, too. They encouraged me to enter again this year and gave me pointers on things I could do to give myself a better chance of winning.”
For eighteen-year-old Morgan Grote, Miss Decatur County offers an opportunity to further her business aspirations. Grote already owns and operates Sassy Sweets, a business wherein she creates, bakes and sales baked sweets to her clients.
She begins study at Ivy Tech, Indianapolis, this fall, her longtime goal to earn the necessary certifications and qualifications and return to Greensburg and open a full-fledged bakery.
“I’ve never competed in a beauty pageant,” Grote said. “I see this as a great opportunity to meet new people and a great life experience. It’s also a great chance to get out in front of the judges and allow the community to get more familiar with me and me them.”
Samantha Toney, 18, competed in both the 2012 and 2011 Miss Decatur County, earning 1st runner-up both years and Miss Congeniality in 2011.
“I like doing this pageant because you get to meet so many new people,” Toney said. “And it builds confidence and poise.”
Toney graduated GCHS earlier this month and will begin study at Aveda Fredric’s Institute in the fall for a career in cosmology. She too, would ultimately like to open her own business in Greensburg.
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011