Judges agree ... MCHS student makes a perfect Miss Indiana FFA Sweetheart
Saturday, January 26, 2013 4:00 AM
For two consecutive years, the Miss Indiana FFA Sweetheart crown has gone to a Madison Consolidated High School student.
This year, 18-year-old Taylor Napier won the pageant for her club on Jan. 12.
Since the competition started four years ago, Madison students have taken the title three times. Kelsey Shaw, currently a sophomore at Purdue University, was the first Indiana FFA Queen. Bailey Laub won the pageant last year.
At first, Napier didn't want to enter into the pageant. Her friend Laub had to talk her into it.
"I tagged along with her last year as moral support, and she told me that I was going to be in it next year, whether I wanted to or not," Napier said. "I said, 'No, pageants aren't for me,' and the more I got to know about it, the more I liked it. Because it's not a typical pageant."
While the pageant still requires contestants to wear formal gowns, it has a FFA twist.
According to Madison FFA advisor Amanda Briggs, the contest judges the girls on formal wear and talent.
"The kick is that the students are asked to wear 'down on the farm' and FFA official dress. It is also based on answers to questions," she said.
Contestants are given questions ahead of time so they can research the topics and provide answers to judges. Napier said the questions dealt with issues farmers face every day.
"First, before any of the spectator events happen, you have to go through an interview with the judges," Napier said. "They ask you questions about your knowledge of agriculture and leadership, things you learned through FFA and current events. How you feel about bio fuels, organic agriculture and stuff like that."
"You have to know what you're going into before you walk into it."
Napier has been a member of the school group since her freshman year and held leadership positions every year she's been eligible. That includes work as a district officer. She says her passion for it came from growing up on her family's farm.
"It's something I've always been exposed to and I've come to love, even though it's a lot of hard work."
Napier said that she - like her predecessor - is encouraging younger FFA members to participate in next year's pageant.
"There's been some members who have asked me about it, and I've highly encouraged it. It's a great opportunity," she said. "In the beginning there weren't very many (schools competing) at all and this year there were 15 from all over the state. The numbers keep increasing year after year because more people keep hearing about it."
Napier hopes to attend college next fall. She wants to study veterinary science.
Mariah Carnes and Makenzie Deputy of Madison also competed in the competition this year.