Queen excited ‘to serve with my best friend’

Photos by Nic Antaya/The Herald
Miss Strassenfest contestants Priscilla Olson, from left, Hannah Rydberg and Hilary Bauer watched the pageant from a TV backstage on Saturday at Redemption Christian Church in Jasper. Rydberg was named Miss Strassenfest. For more photos from the contest, click here.

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

JASPER — Hannah Rydberg and Hilary Bauer are best friends and have known each other since kindergarten.

Now, they will serve on the same Miss Strassenfest court.

Hannah was crowned the 2018 Miss Strassenfest Saturday night, while Hilary was named first runner-up. Hannah was also named Miss Photogenic.

“The epitome of what Miss Strassenfest should be is Hannah Rydberg,” Hilary said. “She loves her community and loves interacting with people, making people feel good. She is so kind and humble. She is an amazing person, and completely deserves this title.”

Hannah also praised her friend.

“When Hilary got first runner-up I was like, ‘Yes! She is going to such a good job!’” Hannah said. “I am so blessed to get to serve with my best friend.”

Victoria Gunselman of Jasper, 8, was crowned 2018 Little Miss Strassenfest on Saturday during the queen pageant at Redemption Christian Church in Jasper. For more photos from the contest, click here.

The two met in kindergarten. “I was sitting across from her, coloring with a red violet crayon,” Hilary said. “And she reached over and took it out my hand, and started using it. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t like her.’”

“But look at us now,” Hannah said.

They both ran for Junior Miss Dubois County 4-H Queen in 2014; Hannah won the crown. Hilary supported Hannah when she ran for Junior Miss Strassenfest in 2012.

They went through their school years as friends and supported each other through various Jasper High School classes and activities, like speech and debate. They keep in touch and encourage each other in their college careers as well.

Daughter of Bryan and Janet Rydberg, Hannah attends the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is majoring in film and marketing. Hilary, daughter of Ken Bauer and the late Sheri Bauer, is majoring in communications and political science at the University of Indianapolis.

And they encouraged each other throughout the Miss Strassenfest contest. All the contestants did, they said.

From left, 2018 Junior Miss Strassenfest Michelle Ondiek of Jasper, 13, 2018 Little Miss Strassenfest Victoria Gunselman of Jasper, 8, 2018 Little Mister Strassenfest Oliver Williams of Jasper, 7, and 2018 Miss Strassenfest Hannah Rydberg of Jasper, 19, posed for a portrait on Saturday after the queen pageant at Redemption Christian Church in Jasper. For more photos from the contest, click here.

“This was a rewarding experience,” Hannah said. “We all got to do our own community service, and we all grew as people. It wasn’t just about putting on the dresses; it was so much more than that.”

Hilary agreed. “It really was about growing as people,” she said. “Every girl was a positive role model in their own way. It was about learning to love yourself and loving the things about you, and expanding on that. When each of us came off the stage after answering our (on-stage interview) question, we hugged each other. We all wanted to see each other grow and be successful.”

Their family and friends who were at Saturday night’s event were also excited for the ladies. Hannah mentioned that her grandmother, Mary Ann Kippenbrock, who lives at Northwood Retirement Community in Jasper, was especially excited.

“She said, ‘You have to come over to the nursing home. I want to show you off to all the people. I’m so excited. I think I’m going to go home and wake them up,’” Hannah recalled with a laugh. “It was so cute.”

2017 Little Mister Strassenfest Charlie Seifert interacted with 2017 Junior Miss Strassenfest Karis Wigand, center, and 2017 Junior Miss 2nd runner-up Strassenfest Hannah Seifert on Saturday before the queen pageant began at Redemption Christian Church in Jasper.For more photos from the contest, click here.

As early as Sunday afternoon, Hannah and Hilary were already working on their schedule of appearances, which includes media appearances, social gatherings and numerous activities during the festival.

“I am looking forward to experiencing this week with a great group of people,” Hannah said.

The rest of the Miss Strassenfest court includes:

Second runner-up: Melanie Patterson, who is the daughter of Darren and Dr. Ann Patterson and will be study theater and drama at Indiana University.

Miss Congeniality: Taylor Mitchell, who is the daughter of Adam and Kim Mitchell and will be a senior at Jasper High School.

Michelle Ondiek was crowned Junior Miss. She is the daughter of Haley and Jason Ondiek and will be an eighth-grade student at Jasper Middle School. Michelle was also named Miss Photogenic.

The other winners in the Junior Miss competition included:

First runner-up: Kathryn McCoy, who is the daughter of Stacy and William McCoy and will be an eighth-grade student at Jasper Middle School.

Second runner-up: Mallory Krapf, who is the daughter of Shelly Krapf and Ben Krapf and will be an eighth-grade student at Jasper Middle School.

Miss Congeniality: Amia Kempf, who is the daughter of Erika and Chad Kempf and will be an eighth-grade student at Jasper Middle School.

In the Littles contest, Victoria Gunselman and Oliver Williams were named Little Miss and Little Mister, respectively. Victoria is the daughter of Kimbra and Josh Gunselman and a fourth-grader at Ireland Elementary School. Oliver is the son of Cassie and Aaron Williams and a second-grader at Ireland.

The other winners included:

First runner-ups: Vivienne Gunselman, daughter of Kimbra and Josh Gunselman and a second-grader at Ireland, and Reid Wendholt, son of Laura and Nathan Wendholt and a second-grader at Ireland; Reid also won Best German outfit.

Second runner-ups: Josie Englert, daughter of Jessica Pfau and Justin Englert and a second-grader at Ireland, and Karsen Roth, son of Kari and Adam Roth and a second-grader at Fifth Street School.

Best German outfit: Stella Temple, daughter of Erin and Jon Temple and a third-grader at Holy Trinity Catholic School.

 

The Strassenfest officially starts Thursday and will run through Sunday. That includes Sunday’s parade, at which the court will ride on a float and throw candy to the crowd.

Hannah is hoping to also hand out cupcakes to the people watching the parade. “I just think that will be so much fun to do,” she said.

“Well, I hope we can figure out how to make them,” Hilary added, laughing.

“We can figure it out. We can do it,” Hannah said, knowing that her best friend will be by her side the whole time.




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