Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The Washington County Fair Queen Board crowned its newest court after a pageant contest Sunday night, naming Anna Nafziger, Miss Congeniality; Taylor Sublette, second runner-up; Bailey Sieren, first runner-up; and Carmen Sieren, the 2021 fair queen.
2021 Miss Iowa Grace Lynn Keller, who emceed the pageant, said she never gets tired of the shows.
“Even though it’s a similar thing, the people are different,” she said. “You meet people from across Iowa in different communities and that’s just really special, to connect with so many people who I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.”
While she has always looked up to the fair queens, Sieren said this was her first time seeing the contest.
“It’s always been something since I was little that I kind of wanted to do and thought would be cool,” she said. “I try to do a new project every year, and this is my new thing to try this year, so I gave it a go.”
Sieren said she had her parents to thank for making her confident enough to participate in the contest.
“Definitely my mom has shaped me a lot,” Sieren said. “(She) pushed me to get out of my comfort zone to the point where I felt comfortable getting up in front of that many people and talking.”
Sieren also thanked her dad, who was her escort during the formal wear portion of the pageant.
“I really chose him for his willingness to help others and his work ethic,” she said, as she introduced him during the pageant. “When he isn’t working on our farm, he is constantly over at neighboring places, helping them with odd jobs. He has taught me countless things on the farm and always pushes me to work my hardest in everything that I do.”
Though she’s involved in a wide array of community activities, Sieren said her leadership experience with 4-H and FFA were most influential in her preparation for the contest.
“When I was a freshman in high school I never thought I’d want to get up in front of the entire FFA chapter and talk to them,” she said. “With 4-H, I’ve done so many different things. I’ve done the communication exhibits which have also really helped me feel comfortable talking in front of people.”
Sieren said her preparation for the contest involved extensive question-answer practice for the interviews and public speaking required. That practice paid off, keeping her calm and collected for most of the affair.
“I wasn’t too nervous until like, the 10 minutes before I had to go on stage,” she said. “You can ask my friends and family, they got really tired of asking me all my queen questions and introductions. It really helps me get ready, and they probably remembered all of those questions as they were listening.”
With the state fair queen contest on the horizon, Sieren said she was not yet worried about preparing for the competition.
“I’m just going to try to be as confident and be myself as much as I can and see how it goes,” she said. “I’m sure there will be more practicing that goes into it and hard work, but I’m excited to get the chance to compete and get that opportunity.”
With a year of high school left, Sieren said she hoped to attend Oklahoma State University for a degree in accounting and ag business before returning to her roots in Keota.
“I personally just love the small hometown feel, it’s a really nice community to be in where everybody is just really supportive of what you want to do,” she said. “My family farm is here, so that’s another thing that pushed me to come back. I love the farm, I love the cattle, I love the crops, and that’s one of the reasons that I want to come back here.”
While she was thrilled to win the crown, Sieren remained humble.
"All of the girls that I ran with were just as great as I am,“ she said. ”I’m really grateful to be the Washington County Fair queen.“