Dawson Wilson ’26  |  Published December 16, 2022

Crowning Achievements

Junior elementary education majors Maddie Blaesing and Maddie Wilson to compete in Miss Illinois County Fair Pageant.

FAIR QUEENS: Maddie Blaesing (left) and Maddie Wilson earned the crowns at the pageants in Warren... FAIR QUEENS: Maddie Blaesing (left) and Maddie Wilson earned the crowns at the pageants in Warren County and Stark County, respectively.MONMOUTH, Ill. – When 74 young women compete Jan. 20-22 in the Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, Monmouth College will be well represented.

Juniors Maddie Blaesing of Monmouth and Maddie Wilson of Wyoming, Illinois, earned the right to compete during the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs as winners of the pageants in Warren and Stark County, respectively.


Crowning achievement

Wilson said waiting for her pageant’s results was “nerve-wracking,” but when she finally learned she’d won and was crowned queen, it fulfilled a dream she’s had since she was a young girl. She talked about what came before that big moment, and what’s happened since.

“There’s a lot more to pageants than what people typically see on television,” she said, referring especially to interviews, which are “an opportunity to shine. I loved the interview process and getting to know people.”

But Wilson, who is an elementary education major, said the most important part of the pageant experience was the opportunity to represent her community.

“I like the community work I do, and I do a lot of it. I also like that everywhere I go, there’s always a little girl who’s like, ‘Are you the queen?’ It warms your heart.” Maddie Wilson


“I like the community work I do, and I do a lot of it,” she said. “I also like that everywhere I go, there’s always a little girl who’s like, ‘Are you the queen?’ It warms your heart.”

In small communities such as Stark County, the fair queen has a leadership role.

“You’re representing something bigger than yourself,” said Wilson. She said she’s frequently heard the following advice: “Even if you’re not wearing your crown, it’s always on your head.”


‘It’s about talking to people’

The Warren County event was the fifth pageant for Blaesing, who’s been competing since she was 7 years old. She most enjoys the social aspect.

“It’s all for fun, that’s why I do it,” said Blaesing, who is also studying elementary education. “I don’t do it to try to win something. I just love being with the other girls. Getting older, it’s more about talking to people. I love doing that – to be able to talk about what I’m passionate about through the speeches. That’s what keeps me coming back.”

“I just love being with the other girls. Getting older, it’s more about talking to people. I love doing that – to be able to talk about what I’m passionate about through the speeches. That’s what keeps me coming back.” Maddie Blaesing


Her favorite moment of the Warren County pageant was when she was backstage with her director, DeNeene Killey. She explained how Killey wasn’t preparing her, but was telling her that she would do great.

“It was a very rewarding experience to have that moment with her,” she said.


On to Springfield

Blaesing said she’s excited to compete again in January and show off her county.

“I know that I can come back to Warren County and have a really supportive community that will back me up 100%, no matter the result,” she said.

Wilson is also looking forward to the state competition.

“I’m excited to develop friendships and create memories at the next pageant,” she said. “It’s really awesome that me and Maddie get to do that together.”

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