Taylor Fisher of Boonville is the 2019 Cooper County Fair Queen, a panel of three judges announced Tuesday evening.

Five contestants participated in a talent or speech presentation and an interview Tuesday afternoon at First Baptist Church. After the Prince and Princess contest at the Cooper County Fairgrounds on Tuesday evening, the contestants answered a final question in front of the crowd before the judges made their decision.

Fisher is a 2017 graduate of Boonville High School, a recent graduate of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M with associates degrees in early childhood education, and will be attending Missouri Southern State University in the fall. She’s a member of FFA, Collegiate Farm Bureau and Young Farmers and Ranchers, and gave a speech during the afternoon talent competition on the effect of recent flooding on farmers in the area.

Fisher was asked what was the hardest decision she’s had to make, and she said it was deciding whether to teach young children or high schoolers.

“It’s important to teach kids agriculture, and my biggest debate is, do I teach it to the younger kids, or the kids who are already interested in it?” she said.

Last year’s Cooper County Queen, Sarah Oerly, who was second runner-up at the Missouri State Fair last year, has an associate’s in equine science from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, and is currently studying equine industry and business at West Texas A&M University, presented the sash and crown to Fisher.

Oerly recalled being asked last year to name her favorite event at the fair. It was the Queen contest, she said. It encourages young women in Cooper County to interact with each other, step out of their comfort zone, and gain experience in interviewing and public speaking. It also gives young people in Cooper County people to look up to, she said.

“I can guarantee you, whether you receive the title or not, you have made an impact on a little girl in the crowd tonight,” Oerly said.

Judges named Natasha Jenkins of Boonville as the first runner up, and also gave her the top speech award. Jenkins graduated from State Fair Community College this year with an associates degree in elementary education and will be attending Northwest Missouri State University in the fall to work towards a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

She runs a greenhouse business, is a member of Boonville FFA, a 4-H volunteer, and a member of the Student Missouri State Teachers Association. She gave her speech on change in interaction.

Jenkins was asked to give three characteristics to describe herself.

“Describing myself in three characteristics is kind of hard, because I’m everywhere,” she said.

She picked involved, making sure everything is being handled in the groups she takes part in, dedicated, because she follows through on every task, and positive.

“Because, as a 4-H camp staff member, you have to make sure that those kids are having a great time and not let anything negative disturb them,” Jenkins said.

Lawren Luscombe of Blackwater was named second runner up. She is a 2019 graduate of Boonville High School who will be attending State Fair Community College to pursue a career in nursing. She performed “Amazing Grace” on violin as her talent.

Luscombe was asked what can be done to help youth succeed. Being involved in groups like FFA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Young Life helped her have a basis of good morals, she said.

“Implementing those even in the younger kids would greatly improve how they work and how they want to live their lives,” she said.

The judges named McKalie Lorenz of Pilot Grove as “Miss Congeniality.” Lorenz also tied with Fisher for the top interview award.

Lorenz is a 2015 graduate of Pilot Grove High School, a graduate of State Fair Community College with an associate’s degree in agriculture, and a graduate of the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in animal science.

She is currently studying for a masters of agriculture degree at MU, where she has been active in MU Collegiate Cattlewomen, MU Block and Bridle, MU College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Student Council and collegiate FFA. She gave her speech on the impacts of showing livestock, and has been showing cattle around Missouri this summer.

Lorenz was asked what makes her generation unique, and she said it’s the resources available to them at their fingertips.

“If we will take those resources that are provided to us and run with them, we can provide opportunities for the entire world and make it a much better place,” she said.

Maria Joy Poock of Boonville competed in the contest. She is a student at the University of Missouri who plans to complete a degree in dairy science and own her own dairy farm. She assists at Dairy Cow Camp and is a counselor at Turkey Hill Ranch Bible Camp, and gave her speech on how 4-H has shaped her life.

Poock was asked for one way to better the community and the fair. Younger people need the opportunity to have hands-on experiences to learn about different places they can work in the future, she said. For the fair, people need to get excited about coming out to see all the projects, she said.

New Franklin teachers Melissa Frericks and Heather Beach, and Copies Etc. owner Debbie Twenter were the judges. Uptown Girlz Hair Company did the contestants’ hair, and WK Family provided the Jeeps in which they arrived. Russell Gerling of Sounds Unlimited provided the sound system for the event. Gordon Jewelers of Boonville provided the tiara for the 2019 Queen.

bcrowley@gatehousemedia.com