The Missouri State Fair is notorious for showcasing all Missouri has to offer and welcomes the state’s hardest working “show offs.” The annual Miss Missouri State Fair Queen Pageant brings together farm-oriented contestants to promote the state’s agricultural work and pride.
Judges rank the young adult female competitors in each category: speech, talent, interview and evening gown. The top 10 contestants are required to answer an on-stage question, leading up to the crowning of the year’s queen.
Lynn Reid, of Sweet Springs, is serving as the pageant’s superintendent for the 10th consecutive year and admits she’s been involved at the fair since she was 13 years old — working the concessions with her parents. Reid’s two daughters, Lori Reid-Price and Leah Reid-Rhea, have also taken part in the pageant, winning the title in 1999 and 2004, respectively. Reid said that since she became superintendent, the number of contestants has increased and now averages about 60 annually.
Maddie Grant, 19, of Columbia, is a first-time Missouri State Fair contestant but has earlier experience from winning this year’s Boone County Fair Queen crown. Grant found out about the state fair pageant from her victory in Boone County and was encouraged to try another.
Growing up on a farm with two sisters, Grant has been raised to care for cattle and crops and said she believes she’s gained lifelong knowledge from her experience. Grant hopes through the pageant she will meet new friends and expand her public speaking skills. She said she believes this opportunity will help present her to others well, saying she is not a “girly girl.”
Grant advised aspiring pageant contestants to pursue the opportunity because she found it to be a “great experience.”
Mashayla Hern is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.