(PHOTOS BY RICH HARDING, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
Every year an amazing panel of judges line the tables in front of the stage at Montpelier Schools to determine the fates of precious young girls who desire to be named Queens.
This year was no different as the qualifications and histories of the judges were read…powerful, active, strong women of all ages who have accomplished much for their world, happily took time to step into this role of making dreams come true.
Of the ten judges, five were designated to judge the Little Miss and Teen Miss and five judged the Junior Miss and Miss contestants.
The girls who competed, from first graders through Juniors in Highschool this year, had family and friends present in the audience, hoping it was their year.
Nerves were strung tight, but smiles were plentiful and sometimes seemed glued to their sweet faces. The dulcet tones of announcer/emcee, Dawn Sheline, led them through the evening.
Everything went smoothly led by Directors Jill Clinger, Rachel Gendron, Kendra JoHantgen, Lisa Shankster and Keshia Shoup.
As the theme for this year’s pageant was Hawaiian Holiday, all the contestants began the show in a group choreographed piece before moving into the Summer Wear Competition.
The girls were rotated with Miss Contestants and Teen Miss Contestants taking their turn to parade across the stage, showing their cute summer outfits and happy faces to the judges.
Next the same was done for Junior Miss and Little Miss. Each contestant introduced herself by name and told who her sponsor was and what she has done lately as her Community Concentration.
Some activities mentioned were raising funds for specific benefits such as the Animal Shelter, planning food drives and making trauma care bags for Police Departments to give to children in rough situations.
While the Miss contestants were getting ready for the Talent Competition, 2021 Miss Montpelier Reese Hand performed “Officer Down”, a song by Hannah Ellis that fit with Reese’s year of focusing on encouraging the Law Enforcement Departments of Williams County.
Her theme for the year was “We’ve got your six!” and the list of things she did to bless the officers of Williams County is long. Later in the program, Reese presented her Officer of the Year award, based on the twelve officers she had given Officer of the Month awards to during the past year and in honor of fallen officer Mick Frisbee, to Officer Kyle Miller of the Williams County Sheriff’s Department.
For the talent portion of the pageant, which was optional to be awarded an additional scholarship, only the Miss Montpelier contestants participated.
Miss Contestant #1, Kaitlyn Marie Mills, daughter of Randy and Stephanie Mills, sponsored by Montpelier Police Department and in the 11th grade, performed an original cheer routine.
Miss Contestant #2, Raegan Lynn Jacob, daughter of Ken Jacob and Mandy Goodnight, sponsored by Gearig Insurance, and also in the 11th grade, performed the first verse of America the Beautiful in American Sign Language.
Miss Contestant #3, Jenna Ryan Clinger, daughter of Jeremy and Jill Clinger, sponsored by Nationwide Insurance, and in the 10th grade, did a dramatic presentation of an artist drawing the portrait of someone in the room, which ended up being a huge smiley face, bringing a laugh from the judges and audience.
Following a short intermission, the Montpelier Queens of 2021 performed a Glow Stick dance to a music mashup. A few minutes were taken to welcome “special guests” who were Queens from surrounding communities.
The evening wear portion of the program was worth 15% of their overall score and was delightful to watch. Such lovely dresses adorning these girls who must have truly felt like princesses, some with ruffles and some with sparkles, some so sleek and shiny, all were enjoyed and must have been hard to judge.
Introducing the Contestants for 2022:
Little Miss Contestant #1 Kaylee Ann-Mavis Barrett, the 8-year-old daughter of Timothy and Genia Sanders, will be in the 3rd grade this fall. She was sponsored by Delta Juliet Tactical.
Her hobbies include cheerleading, playing soccer and participating in the pageant. Kaylee wants to be a teacher when she grows up. At school she was named Student of the Month. Kaylee wants to be Little Miss Montpelier because she would like to give back to her community.
Junior Miss Montpelier Contestant #1 Sophia Elizabeth Hildebrandt is the 11-year-old daughter of Josh and Joelle Hildebrandt and was sponsored by Drop Tine Winery and Taphouse.
She will be in 5h grade this fall. She enjoys band, cheerleading, volleyball and choir. She was awarded Student of the month at school.
When Sophia gets older, she would like to be a zoo keeper. Sophia would like to be Junior Miss Montpelier to gain confidence.
Little Miss Contestant #2 Karlee Joyce Moore is the 6-year-old daughter of Mick and Jill Moore and was sponsored by the Montpelier Fire Department. She will be in the 1st grade this fall.
Her hobbies include playing T-ball, volleyball and soccer as well as spending time at the lake. She has earned a Loco Leader award at school. When Karlee gets older, she would like to be a teacher.
Karlee would like to be Little Miss Montpelier because she wants to be a princess that helps people.
Junior Miss Montpelier Contestant #2 Maci Jade Taylor is the 9-year-old daughter of Billy and Davi Taylor and was sponsored by Four of a Kind Entertainment. She will be in the 4th grade this fall.
Her hobbies include playing softball, basketball and volleyball as well as shopping. In school she has received the Manners Matter award and an Art award. She was also given an award from her teacher at a Board of Education meeting.
When Maci gets older, she would like to be an artist. Maci would like to be Junior Miss Montpelier because she wants to show how good our town is.
Little Miss Contestant #3 Reese Nicole Nickells is the 6-year-old daughter of Austin and Ashley Nickells and was sponsored by JSM Handyman. She will be in the 1st grade this fall.
Her hobbies include swimming, playing with her Mimi and riding her 4-wheeler. At school she was given the Little Loco Leader award for problem solving.
When Reese gets older, she would like to be a teacher. Reese would like to be Little Miss Montpelier to make new friends and to make her feel beautiful.
Junior Miss Montpelier Contestant #3 Willow Rose Hickling is the 11-year-old daughter of Corey Hickling and TeAnna and John Tingley and was sponsored by Hair Fashions. She will be in the 5th grade this fall.
Her hobbies include playing softball, soccer and basketball as well as drawing. She earned an award of Student of the Month at school.
When Willow gets older, she would like to be a veterinarian. Willow would like to be Junior Miss Montpelier to help the community be better and become better.
Little Miss Contestant #4 Sophia Marie Reeder is the 7-year-old daughter of Tyson Reeder and Amanda Kreischer. She will be in the 1st grade this fall, and was sponsored by Edon Farmers Co-op.
Her hobbies include painting, swimming and playing with her pets. She is also a member of the High Achievers 4-H Club as a Cloverbud. She received awards at school as Student of the Month as well as a Bucket Fiiller.
Sophia wants to be Little Miss Montpelier because she wants to wear pretty dresses and a pretty crown. She would love to ride in parades!
Junior Miss Montpelier Contestant #4 Sophia Vayda Lorraine Moden is the 9-year-old daughter of Wesley and Ruth Moden and was sponsored by Winzeler Stamping Company. She will be in the 4th grade this fall.
Her hobbies include riding dirt bikes, skating and hiking with her dogs. In school she has received awards for perfect attendance and is on the Honor Roll. She also served with her class liaison and was invited to Pizza with the Principal.
When Sophia gets older, she would like to be a lawyer, veterinarian and an advocate for animal welfare. Sophia would like to be Junior Miss Montpelier to serve the community, meet new people and have a positive impact on the community.
The onstage question portion of the program for the Little Miss and Junior Miss contestants was conducted by the reigning 2021 Queens with the girls each drawing a question from a bucket and giving a spontaneous answer.
Just a few: Question for Karlee Moore – favorite ice cream? Answer “chocolate because it’s so yummy!”; Question for Reese Nickells – what do you want to be when you grow up? Answer “A banker because my mom is a banker.”; and Question for Willow Hickling – favorite animal? Answer “Wolf because our whole entire living room is full of wolves.”
The evening continued, with Teen Miss and Miss Evening Wear, a glamourous affair which counted for 15% of their overall score as well.
Teen Miss Contestant #1 Kendalynne Audrina Dilley is the 12-year-old daughter of Travis and Sophia Dilley and was sponsored by Millers Markets. She will be in 7th grade this fall.
She enjoys playing softball and going camping with her family as well as motorcycle rides with her Grandpa Ray and sewing and making crafts with her Grandma Pat. She is on the Honor Roll and has been honored by the school board the past 3 years.
In the pageant, she has won several awards including 2018 People’s Choice award, 2019 Junior Miss 1st Runner up and Congeniality and 2020 Civic League award and Photogenic.
When Kendalynne gets older, she would like to continue to excel in school and she would love to become a teacher one day.
Kendalynne would like to be Teen Miss Montpelier because she enjoys lending a hand and giving back to those in need. She knows she can do just that and more through her title of Teen Miss Montpelier.
Miss Contestant #1 Kaitlyn Marie Mills is active in musical theatre and is on the Honor Roll at school.
As a cheerleader she was the Varsity captain for both football and basketball season and earned the Most Spirited award for football. Outside of school she enjoys listening to country music and making TikToks.
She also earned the Bronze award for Girl Scouts. In the future Kaitlyn wants to attend college at the University of Kentucky and become a pediatric oncologist. Kaitlyn would like to become Miss Montpelier to represent Montpelier and to help the community.
Teen Miss Contestant #2 Piper Addison JoHantgen is the 12-year-old daughter of Sam and Kendra JoHantgen and was sponsored by Surely Daisies. She will be in the 8th grade this fall.
She is active on the archery and softball teams and the Awareness Team Club at school. She was on the Honor Roll and has been given 2 medals for being respectful, responsible and safe at school.
She was also elected to Student Council and has been Student of the Month. In the future Piper would like to go to college for photography or photo journalism.
Piper would like to be Teen Miss Montpelier because not only does she get to help the community, but she gets to make new friends and have lots of fun.
Miss Contestant #2 Raegan Lynn Jacob is active at school in Spanish Club and is on the Honor Roll. Outside of school she enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
She earned her 5-year award for the Bryan Swim Team and has earned her Lifeguarding Certification. In the future Raegan plans to go to Bowling Green State University to get her bachelor’s degree in teaching.
Raegan would like to become Miss Montpelier because she always tries to represent her community in a positive way and for all the friendships and opportunities she can experience.
Teen Miss Contestant #3 Xandria Marie Robbins is the 13-year-old daughter of Brittany Postighone (Robbins) and was sponsored by the Hope Center. She will be in 7th grade this fall.
She is active playing softball and enjoys singing, dancing and cheerleading. She also likes spending time doing artwork.
In the future Xandria would like to become a hairstylist, singer or dancer. Xandria would like to be Teen Miss Montpelier to show others that they’re beautiful just the way they are!
Miss Contestant #3 Jenna Ryan Clinger is active in cross country and track as well as FCA at school. Outside of school she enjoys tumbling and attending youth group.
For cross country she earned district honorable mention and earner her Varsity letter for both cross country and track. She was honored with a letter of recognition by the Montpelier Mayor for her Summer Grace project as well as the Just for Kicks Community Service award.
In the future Jenna plans to build a family and become a Registered Nurse. Jenna would like to become Miss Montpelier because she loves being involved and helping the community. She also likes making new friends and this seems like a great opportunity to do so.
Just a few of the onstage questions, which were worth 10% of their score, for this group: Question for Xandria favorite movie? Answer “Home because it is fun and the little alien guy is adorable.”;
Question for Jenna If you were a world traveler, what would be your next stop? Answer “Hawaii, because I have always wanted to go there.”
One of the girls was asked if she was given a magic wand, what would she do with it? She answered “ask for peace to come back to America because it is something we need right now.”
Besides the judging at the Pageant, each of the contestants receives reference scores from teachers, principals, and community members which is added into their overall score for a total of 25% for all contestants.
While the judges’ totals were gathered and computed, the audience enjoyed a slide show with interesting tidbits of information about each contestant.
Special moments were given for each of the 2021 Pride of Montpelier Queens to take their Final Walk before the announcement of who won her position for 2022.
Each one had pre-recorded a little speech about the fun they had, what they got to do, what they learned and how each of the other Queens affected them.
While it played, they proudly smiled and walked around the stage looking regal. They began with Little Miss Montpelier 2021 Braelyn Harter, escorted by her dad, Devin.
Next was Junior Miss Montpelier 2021 Breelyn Shankster, escorted by her father Tyson followed by Teen Miss Montpelier 2021 Kaitlyn Terry, escorted by her mother Carman.
Miss Montpelier 2021 Reese Hand was escorted by her mother Jamie and when her final walk was finished, she was asked to remain center stage for a surprise.
Pageant Directors presented her with a very special Crown which has only been given one other time since the pageant began in the 1960’s…the Montpelier Royalty Queen of Queens crown.
Reese has held every title available in Montpelier, Little Miss, Jr. Miss, Teen Miss and Miss, exhibiting “all the qualities that we look for in our queens.”
She was honored with some special awards and notes from individuals that have been a part of her pageant journey for the past decade. Wiping away tears, Reese stayed on stage after the ceremony, to crown the next queen.
QUEENS CROWNED FOR 2022:
For Little Miss Montpelier:
-Highest Score in Interview Portion went to Kaylee Barrett
-Little Miss Photogenic 2022 is Sophia Reeder
-Little Miss Congeniality was also Sophia Reeder
-1st Runner Up was Sophia Reeder
-LITTLE MISS MONTPELIER 2022 – KARLEE MOORE
For Junior Miss Montpelier:
-Highest Score in Personal Interview went to Willow Hickling
-Junior Miss Photogenic is Maci Taylor
-Junior Miss Congeniality is Maci Taylor
-1st Runner Up is Sophia Hildebrandt
-JUNIOR MISS MONTPELIER 2022 – WILLOW HICKLING
For Teen Miss Montpelier:
-Highest Score in Personal Interview went to Kendalynne Dilley
-Teen Miss Photogenic is Kendalynne Dilley
-Teen Miss Congeniality is Kendalynne Dilley
-1st Runner Up is Piper JoHantgen
-TEEN MISS MONTPELIER 2022 – KENDALYNNE DILLEY
For Miss Montpelier 2022:
-Highest Score in Personal Interview went to Jenna Clinger
-Awards for Talent portion- 3rd place Raegan Jacobs, 2nd place Kaitlyn Mills and 1st place Jenna Clinger
-Miss Photogenic is Raegan Jacob
-Miss Congeniality is Jenna Clinger
-1st Runner Up is Kaitlyn Mills
-MISS MONTPELIER 2022 JENNA CLINGER
Other awards and presentations included:
-50/50 which was half of $4,310 and went to the name drawn – Phil Johnston
-Queen who raised the most money for the 50/50 fundraiser was Jenna Clinger
-Montpelier Civic League awards, honoring courtesy, graciousness, friendliness and community, with $25, went to Little Miss Karlee Moore, Jr. Miss Maci Taylor, Miss Teen Piper JoHantgen, and Miss Kaitlyn Mills
-Volunteerism Award which was applied for by choice, sponsored by Thompson Funeral Home is presented for displaying exemplary volunteerism and community service and what they plan to do as Montpelier Queen.
This award was presented by Tashia Thompson to Little Miss Kaylee Barrett, Jr. Miss Sophia Moden, Teen Miss Kendalynne Dilley and Miss Jenna Clinger
-Montpelier Rotary awards presented by Jeremy Clinger went to Little Miss Reese Nickells, Jr. Miss Sophia Moden, Teen Miss Xandria Robbins and Miss Raegan Jacob
-Judge Helyna Park presented two scholarships for anti-bullying initiatives which were chosen by votes from other contestants, to Little Miss Kaylee Barrett and Miss Jenna Clinger
-Final Award of the Evening – Cheryl Harter Memorial Peoples Choice Award, presented by her son Devin, in memory of Cheryl, who was very supportive in the past. This went to Teen Miss Kendalynne Dilley.
Thanks was expressed on screen to those that Sponsored awards and donations: Chris Allman – Allman Agency, Heather Allman – Raymond James Financial, Helyna Park – Positivity Posse, Jill E. Clinger – Nationwide Insurance, Montpelier Civic League, Montpelier Rotary Club and Moore Industries, Inc. Thanks also to the Backstage and Onstage Help: Emcee Dawn Sheline, Photographer Studio 34 Photography Keshia Soup, Video Malanga Enterprises, Judge Hostesses Alicia Hegler and Grace Schroeder, Auditors Stephanie Carr and Jami Geren, Light and Sound Techs Rylan JoHantgen and Greyson Saneholtz, Spotlight Cianna Shoup, Directors in Training Alexis Marihugh and Katelynn Moor, Tickets Megan Lamberson and Caylin Brenneman, Concessions Chery Rowley and Tashia Thompson, Programs Cianna Shoup and Desiree Dunkle, and People’s Choice April and Addison White.
The 2022 Queens will compete in the Pride of Williams County Pageant in early 2023.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com