Washington Evening Journal
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FAIRFIELD — Maddie Black has been named the 2022 Greater Jefferson County Fair Queen.
Black won the honor during the queen contest Wednesday night in the show arena at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Black said it was especially gratifying to be crowned fair queen by the 2021 county fair queen Makenzie Dahlstrom, because the two have been best friends since childhood.
“I felt very honored because this was such a great group of girls, who are all so kind and beautiful,” Black said.
Maddie is the daughter of Matt and Dawn Black. The couple have now produced two Jefferson County Fair Queens. Maddie’s older sister Megan was named fair queen nine years ago.
Black has been a familiar face at the Jefferson County Fair ever since she was little. Her two older siblings, Megan and their brother Trucker, started showing cattle at the fair when Maddie was just an infant. Even as a little girl, Black loved brushing and washing the calves. At the age of 5, she started showing animals, and joined Clover Kids, the precursor to 4-H for kids who are not yet old enough to compete. Black has held leadership positions in 4-H and FFA. For instance, she’s been the vice president of the Packwood Trojans Club for the past two years.
Black and her family live on a farm and raise 2,500 head of crossbred cows. Black has her own herd of Herefords to tend to that she shows at the fair. That means she has to get up early to do morning chores like rinsing the animals, feeding them, and putting them in an air conditioned room. At night, she repeats the process.
“It does take a lot of time, but I wouldn’t know what to do with my time if I didn’t have this,” Black joked. “I started an internship at Nutrien Ag Solutions, so I have to get up at 5:30 a.m. every day. It’s not too bad, and you get used to it.”
Wednesday was another of those typical early mornings for Black, who started the day by washing her calves, making last minute preparations for the fair, and checking in the rabbits and calves she planned to show this year. After checking in her animals, she had to go straight to the Bee Hive Salon, where she and the other queen contestants had their hair done.
“The Bee Hive did a great job. They were amazing hosts for us,” Black said.
The five queen contestants had a group interview with the judges after that, where they had a chance to converse with each other before the individual interviews.
“After that, we had a snack time with the judges, and had a chance to talk more casually,” Black said.
After trying on the two outfits she was going to wear that night, a casual one and a formal one, Black resumed her fair chores by watering the calves, then returning home to do more work in the barn before the queen contest.
When Black was announced as the Jefferson County Fair Queen, among the first people to congratulate her was her 17-month-old nephew Shepherd, her brother’s son. Black said she loves spending time with her nephew, and said he is the “best thing to ever happen.”
“When he comes to our house, we go on tractor rides or see the cows,” she said. “It’s so fun to play with him and see him develop.”
When she’s not tending to her animals or busy with fair responsibilities, Black likes doing extracurricular activities, especially wrestling. Her sister Megan was an accomplished wrestler, becoming the first female in Iowa to place at the state wrestling tournament. Her brother was a state champion. Her dad wrestled, too, and her uncle Jason has been a UFC fighter.
“Wrestling is in our blood,” Black said. “Seeing my sister and brother wrestle inspired me to do it.”
Black started in the Pekin Community School District but transferred to Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont after her freshman year so she could continue wrestling. She was named captain of her high school wrestling team, and was the state runner-up in her weight class earlier this school year.
During her sophomore and junior years at EBF, she wrestled on the boys’ team, but during her junior year she hurt her shoulder, and decided to compete in just the girls’ wrestling tournaments during her senior year, while still practicing with the boys.
“The boys obviously see me as a girl, but I’m not treated any differently,” she said. “I went to a wrestling club in Iowa City where there were boys who had won state, and they never treated me any differently. When you train just as hard as them and put in as much effort, they don’t see you any differently. It’s a fun dynamic.”
Apart from wrestling, Black is very busy with FFA and volunteering, such as helping at ice cream socials after football games, and volunteering with AAU wrestling for little kids. She’s also active in her church, Northgate Church in Ottumwa.
Black’s sponsor for the queen contest was Sprout and Black Family Agriculture.
Call Andy Hallman at 641-575-0135 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org