By: Charlyn Fargo, Tom Schahrer
Claudia VanOpdorp was crowned the 58th Miss Illinois County Fair queen. VanOpdorp represented Henry County at the 107th Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs Convention on Sunday. She is the 19 year old daughter of Tony and Juliet VanOpdorp of Annawan, Illinois. She is currently attending the University of Illinois majoring in pre-dental biology.
VanOpdorp will be a summer employee of the Department of Agriculture. She will travel to about 30 county fairs, and will be the official hostess of the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fair. As queen, VanOpdorp's main duty is to emphasize the importance of agriculture and county fairs to Illinois.
Clare Bunyan, of Union County, was named the first runner up, Emma Hildebrand, of Adams County, was named the second runner up, Bailey Smith, of Schuyler County, was named third runner up, and Kortney Stanfield, of Clay County, was named 4th runner up.
Also making a top 15 finalist: Clark County Whitley Brandenburg, McHenry County Gianisha Dougherty, Fayetteville County Brandy Protz, Bond County Abigail Deglar, Okawville County Rachel Recker, Montgomery County Ailie Elmore, Crawford County Carley Travis, Rock Island County Emilee Livesay, Moultrie-Douglas County Amber Tabeling, and Vermillion County Katie Brown.
Miss Menard County Rachael Sampson received best non-finalist personal interview, White County's Whitley Verble received best non-finalist communication skills, Miss Marion County Julie Borker received best non-finalist in stage presence, and Annie Bastien, of Perry County, received best non-finalist in beauty and physique.
The annual talent show took place on Saturday. Out of 56 total entries, Miranda Ochs and Jacelyn Street from Jasper County won the junior division with a piano duet. Kelsey Jurich and Charlie Elliot from Williamson County took second place and Mikella Cornell from Rock Island took third place. Riley Mulcahy from Grundy County won the senior division with a vocal solo. Ryland Green from Boone County took second place and Victoria Covell from Logan County took third place.
In total, this year's convention had more than 3,000 in attendance.