Did you know? The Miss Hemingford Contest was the predecessor to the Box Butte County Fair Queen Contest and Miss Donna Delsing was the first Box Butte County Fair Queen in 1956.

That makes this the coming year the 63rd Box Butte County Fair Queen Contest. The 2019 contest will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 8 p.m. at the grandstands.

This year there are 10 young ladies between the ages of 16 and 20 that will be competing for the chance to represent Box Butte County as Fair Royalty.

A Box Butte County Queen Alum has taken over this year as coordinator. She was Box Butte County Fair Queen a couple years ago ... 1982 to be exact.

”Being a fair queen is always something that I wanted to do when I was little,” said Barbie Applegarth.

If you know your BBC Fair Queen history, Barbie Applegarth was crowned as queen when she was Barbie Johnson.

“In fact my mom kept a story that I wrote when I was in kindergarten, ‘When I grow up…’ and I said when I grow up I’m going to be the fair queen and I’m going wear a pink dress. And when I was the fair queen, I wore a pink dress,” Applegarth said.

She was also able to pass down that passion for the BBC Fair Queen contest to her daughters Amy and Ellie. Her daughter Amy (Applegarth) McFarland was the 2nd Attendant in 2005. She will be co-emceeing the Queen Contest this year with Kevin Horn. Ellie (Applegarth) Walls has also been helping with the Queen Contest. She will be helping the girls get ready and assisting with the interview portion. She was the 2nd Attendant in 2012.

Applegarth also sat on the committee for 10 years.

“I’m so excited that Barbie has taken over,” said Joni Jespersen.

“It’s just something that I’m so passionate about and I’m also so passionate about 4-H and our County Fair overall,” noted Applegarth.  

“They have asked me to take it over for several years but I just wasn’t ready. I still had Lane at home and I knew I wouldn’t have the time to devote to it. He’s been in college for a year now so it was time. It’s just something that has always been important to me. I have cousins that were fair queens.” 

10 young ladies are set to compete this year with a few more that haven’t fully committed.

“We have a really diverse group of young ladies this year, they really have a lot to offer,” Applegarth said. “It’s not easy to be up in front of those people with a spotlight and a microphone. It’s a life skill and they’ll be thankful that they did it.”

“The girls don’t realize it but they are gaining so many life skills being able to be up there and in front of a crowd. Learning how to conduct themselves.

The fair queen contest has kind of dropped off in the last few years, I think part of that is our society; girls aren’t expected to be girls, or ladies, anymore. I think it’s okay to be a lady but being a lady and being poised, that’s not important anymore. Kids today are movers and shakers.”

“It’s such a laid back event. The girls bond with one another and make lifelong friends. Some of the girls that were on my court I still keep in touch with.”

She has made one change; the talent portion is now called “Uniquely You.”

“They can perform if they want to but they don’t need to,” Applegarth said. “I know that was holding some girls back from wanting to do the contest. I’m just telling the girls to tell the audience something that makes them unique. For instance, I’m a runner so I would wear my running clothes and say why I love running. That’s how it used to be before it got to be such a performance kind of thing.”

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