4-H Fair: Duties a big hit for first Junior Miss

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald
Dubois County 4-H Fair Junior Miss Jessica Hilsmeyer of Huntingburg, 15, helped her team pull the rope in the tug of war at the Dubois County 4-H Fair on Thursday. Jessica is the county fair’s first junior miss and had various duties at the fair throughout the week. More photos from the fair are here.

Herald Staff Writer

BRETZVILLE — The queen of the Dubois County 4-H Fair always has had the duty of getting down in the dirt to participate in the fair’s annual tug of war and hog wrestling competition. The duties of the fair’s first junior miss are no different.

Jessica Hilsmeyer, 15, assumed the title at a July 6 pageant and spent this past week at the fair with the queen’s court, attending events and congratulating 4-H’ers.

On Sunday, she wrestled a pig with the rest of the queen’s court, successfully helping to place the pig on the tire in 10 seconds.

Jessica had some previous experience with hog wrestling as the Huntingburg girl has participated in the contest at her hometown’s Herbstfest.

Jessica also had some new experiences in her role as junior miss. Though a seven-year member of 4-H, Jessica has never brought animals to the fair, so she had very little knowledge of the animal shows.

“I wasn’t usually (at the fair) during the day. I usually came at night, so being here during the day and seeing all the shows has been really fun,” Jessica said Monday morning as she passed out ribbons to 4-H’ers at the goat show. “I’ve never been in (the barns) a lot, so I didn’t know how much work went into the shows.”

Jessica and the members of the queen’s court were present at every show, no matter how long the duration, to congratulate the participating 4-H’ers.

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald
Dubois County 4-H Fair Junior Miss Jessica Hilsmeyer of Huntingburg, 15, left, smiled as Miss Dubois County 4-H Fair Queen second runner-up and Miss Photogenic Victoria Hickman of Jasper, 19, held up her contest number, 4, to figure out who else was on her tug-of-war team at the Dubois County 4-H Fair on Thursday. More photos from the fair are here.

Jessica, the daughter of Terry and Karen Hilsmeyer, is a member of the St. Henry Saints 4-H Club and has enrolled in the ceramics 4-H project every year. She said she plans to continue 4-H and hopes to participate in the queen’s contest — which is for girls ages 18 to 21 — to compete for the title of Miss Dubois County when she is old enough. She thinks her experience in the junior miss pageant will be of use to her when the time comes to compete for queen.

“I learned a lot of things during the preparation process,” Jessica said.

On Thursday evening, Jessica had another duty to fulfill — participating in the tug of war against other girls from the queen and junior miss contests. The girls split up based on their contestant numbers during the pageants, odd numbers on one side and even numbers on the other.

The girls began digging furiously as the five minutes allowed for creating holes and footholds began.

Jessica had some outside help from fellow St. Henry Saints member Elizabeth Brinkman.

Jimmy Wagner, the coach of the St. Henry tug-of-war team, gave each girl a small amount of some liquid — he wouldn’t divulge what it was — to help make her hands sticky for the pull. The trick was for each girl to clap her hands together to disperse the liquid onto her hands instead of rubbing it in.

After a five-minute resting period, the gun popped to signal the start of the pull. The crowd cheered loudly as each team of girls struggled to move the red string tied around the middle of the rope closer to its side.

When the five-minute pull ended, the string was on the side of Jessica’s team, making it the winner.

Though participating in the tug of war and hog wrestling competition may not sound like the most queenlike duty, Jessica, standing breathless and smiling after the pull, said she enjoyed it.

“I think they’re really fun,” Jessica said of participating in the two events. “They give you a lot of bonding experience because we got really close with our team.”

Contact April Dittmer at newsintern@dcherald.com.

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