In the early days of the 4-H Queen, determining the winner of the event often came down to the spin of a wheel, but on Friday, the bar was much higher for the five 4-H members who stepped onto the stage to compete for the titles of 4-H King and Queen 2016.
Tabitha Gregory was crowned the 52nd 4-H Queen for her poise and commitment to 4-H. She has been a member of 4-H for 10 years and shows a horse with Paddock Pals.
Tyler Umberger accepted the title of the 39th 4-H King. Tyler ran unopposed for the title, and is looking forward to sharing the knowledge he has gained over the past nine years with Frederick County Goat Club and Greener Pastures.
“4-H has done so much for me, so this was my chance to reach out,” Tabitha said.
Both received a $1,000 scholarship funded by the Frederick County Agricultural Society.
Each contestant was judged on stage presence, public speaking, along with 4-H knowledge and background. The contestants also participated in an interview Tuesday with the same panel of judges as Friday evening.
Also crowned Friday evening were Junior Princess Haley Welty and Junior Prince Jameson Kuster.
All the winners will be ambassadors for 4-H and help spread their passion as leaders for the year to come, according to Donielle Axline, the extension educator for the University of Maryland Extension Frederick County 4-H office. The program has focused on agricultural outreach since its inception in 1965.
“My family has a deep history of farming in Frederick, and it’s a great opportunity for all [in 4-H],” Tyler said.
First runner-up, Amanda Farmer, received a $500 scholarship from the Royal Advisory Committee, which is funded by multiple businesses and individual contributions. Brandi Main and Megan Pelan were awarded princess titles.
Former 4-H Queen Rachel Summers, 19, gave her title up Friday after spending the past year promoting agriculture across the county. She is in her last few months of 4-H before heading back for her sophomore year at Frederick Community College. She was involved with the 4-H Royalty program for six years as an ambassador, princess and queen. Her mother and aunt were both 4-H queens.
Before the evening’s contest, she had this advice for the new king and queen: “Be ready. It’s a long week and a long year, but you’ll really enjoy it.”
Tabitha Gregory, queen
Amanda Farmer, first runner-up
Brandi Main, princess
Megan Pelan, princess
Tyler Umberger, king
Junior Royalty Contestants:
Haley Welty, jr. princess
Jameson Kuster, jr. prince