2022 Miami County Fair kicks off

TROY – Clinton Shellenberger, who just graduated from Newton High School in Pleasant Hill, and Kila Stephan, a junior at Covington High School in Covington, took king and queen at the 2022 Miami County Fair on Aug. 12.

Shellenberger is the son of Nick and Jennifer Shellenberger. He is a member of the Newton/UVCC FFA and is the 2022 president of the junior fair board where he is also a member of the beef/dairy committee. This year, he will show a dairy cow, dairy heifer, dairy feeder steer, and market goat.

When asked “what are you doing to educate your community about 4-H?” by the judges, Shellenberger told stories about how he helped younger kids get involved in 4-H by teaching them how to show animals and educating those not involved on what it’s all about.

“One of my biggest passions was making sure that kids had an ability to show, making sure they have access to animals, so whenever we were at meetings, I was always kind of looking out to make sure that there was always somebody that was getting helped in one way or another,” Shellenberger said.

Stephan is the daughter of Mike and Kia Stephan. She is a member of the Rock-N-Rabbits 4-H club and the Covington/UVCC FFA. She is also a junior fair board member and is involved in the rabbit and dog committees. This year, she will show rabbits and cavies.

The judges asked Stephan “how would you improve the fair?” and she said she would like to spread the word more about kids getting involved in 4-H and show them that they can do any project they want.

“You don’t need an animal, you don’t need thousands of dollars invested in livestock, you can just pick a hobby. It’s not about winning a blue ribbon – it’s about the experience,” Stephan said. “We need to get these youth here – they are our future junior and senior fair board members. They will keep this fair going strong and alive.”

Stephan made the crowd teary-eyed when she became emotional about her win. She said she did not expect to win and that all the girls she competed with deserved to win as well.

“A lot of people look at me and they think I’m going for the little miss or the princess, and I’m just really surprised. I really worked hard on this interview. I was nervous out of my mind, but it’s such an honor,” Stephan said.

Both winners’ passion for 4-H shined when talking about the program and how it has benefited them to be a part of it.

“The 4-H program we have here in Miami County is an exceptional one, and I think since Jessica (Adams, Miami County 4-H Educator) has come in and others it has continued to grow and do even better. I think it’s amazing to see how the youth in the county can have this opportunity to get engaged in agriculture and continue to grow as they get older,” Shellenberger said.

“It’s (4-H) provided so many opportunities for me. I’ve met friends that I will never forget. I have new what I call family members. They support me, we support them, no matter who gets the win, it’s a win for all,” Stephan said.

There were three age groups this year with the addition of the prince and princess crowning. The little miss title went to Mackenzie Shoemaker, and the little mister title went to Elijah Swartz. The princess title went to Tessa Lyons, and the prince title went to Jacob Shoemaker. For the king and queen contest, the queen second runner-up went to Megan Robinson, and the king second runner-up went to Kaden Merz. The queen first runner-up went to Mackenzie Andrews, and the king first runner-up went to Colin Tackett.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.