Kelsey Vaughn named 2017 Ford County Fair Queen

MELVIN -- Kelsey Vaughn is no stranger to trying new things.
 
The 17-year-old Paxton resident, and 2017 Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School graduate, was invited to try something new by PBL agriculture/FFA teacher Kirsten Blackford, who was looking for contestants for the 2017 Ford County Fair Queen Pageant.
 
“I was very hesitant about it," Vaughn said. "I'm not a pageant girl. I wouldn't be fitting in with the other girls. She convinced me to do it, and I'm so glad that I did.”
 
Vaughn was named the 2017 Ford County Fair Queen at Monday's pageant.
 
“It feels amazing. I was not expecting it at all," Vaughn said. "I wasn't expecting to start crying when they announced my name. I was completely speechless. Throughout this whole month that we've been practicing, I've met so many new friends and gained closer friendships than I already had. It's been a truly wonderful experience. It's something I never thought I would be doing.”
 
Vaughn tried something new during her freshman year at PBL as well as she opted to take an agriculture class. Following her summer at the Ford County Fair, Vaughn will attend Illinois State University to major in agribusiness.
 
“I just did it because a few of my friends were doing it," Vaughn said. "I thought it would be fun to have a class with them, and I ended up loving agriculture. I love my teachers that I had in the class, and now I'm trying to make a living out of it someday.”
 
During the pageant's speech competition, Vaughn related her agriculture experience to shopping experiences -- particularly, “when I find something that I might not really like on the rack, but I decide to try it on, and I ended up loving it." 
 
"That's what I did – I didn't really want to try ag," Vaughn said. "I didn't know what it was, and I tried it, and I ended up loving it.”
 
Vaughn will have the opportunity to be a part of a county fair that will have a lot of activities related to agriculture.
 
“It'll be a wonderful experience because I have done a lot of these activities through 4-H when I was younger and just coming to the fair because it was a fun thing to do," Vaughn said. "I looked up to the queen because I thought it was awesome that she put herself out there to compete for the crown. Now, I will be on the other end of the spectrum.”
 
Vaughn will also have a chance to meet Easton Corbin, which will hold a concert with Walker McGuire at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
 
“I'm looking forward to meeting Easton Corbin and introducing them on Friday for the concert," Vaughn said.
 
When the summer is over, Vaughn said she looks forward to going to college.
 
“I'm looking forward to going to ISU," Vaughn said. "I fell in love with that school when I first toured it. For a long time, I knew I wanted to go there.”
 
Vaughn is the daughter of Kelli and Rusty Vaughn.
 
“I want to thank my mom because she has stuck with me through all my crazy ideas, like when I first brought up (the pageant)," Vaughn said. "She's been my No. 1 supporter through it all.”
 
Sydney Porter, 20, of Paxton, was selected as the first runner-up. Kaitlyn Harders, 18, of Melvin, was the second runner-up and Autumn Flessner, 18, of Loda, was selected as Miss Congeniality.
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