4-H Fair: Queen’s doubts turn to dual triumphs

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald
Brooke Wessel of Jasper, 18, second from left, was crowned 2013 Miss Dubois County 4-H Queen by 2012 first runner-up Samantha Hopf of Huntingburg, left, and 2012 queen Rhegann Fetter of Huntingburg at Jasper Middle School on Saturday evening. Wessel, a 2013 Jasper High School graduate who plans to attend Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, was also named Miss Congeniality. Jessica Hilsmeyer of Huntingburg, 15, was named Junior Miss. More photos are here.

Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — When Brooke Wessel’s name was called at the Dubois County 4-H Fair Queen Contest for the title of Miss Congeniality, she thought her shot at the title of Miss Dubois County was over.

Standing among the other winners with her Miss Congeniality sash and bouquet of flowers, Brooke,18, waited with the rest of the audience and contestants on Saturday at the Jasper Middle School Gymnasium to hear who would be crowned queen.

When master of ceremonies Ron Spalding announced the words, “contestant No. 5, Brooke Wessel,” the crowd erupted in applause, but Brooke remained rooted in her place for a moment.

“I was in shock,” Brooke, the daughter of Tim and Tammy Wessel of Jasper, said. “I didn’t know you could win more than one thing and I looked at the person next to me and I was like, ”˜That’s me. They said my name.’”

Brooke was one of 17 girls who competed for the title of Miss Dubois County. Eight young girls also competed for the first-ever Junior Miss title, which went to Jessica Hilsmeyer, daughter of Terry and Karen Hilsmeyer of Huntingburg. The two contests were combined into one event, with the queen contestants taking to the runway first.

Each contestant glided smoothly onto the runway, lined with twinkling lights, in her professional wear, smiling brightly for the audience and panel of three judges. Next up were the Junior Miss contestants in their formalwear, their gowns flowing effortlessly as they took a turn and each paused to answer a question from the master of ceremonies. The formalwear portion of the evening continued with the queen contestants.

Brooke entered the runway confidently in her red, one-shoulder gown answering her question with ease. She described the perfect leader as someone honorable and as someone whom people want to follow. Little did she know, she, like other queens before her, would soon take on a leadership role as Miss Dubois County.

A 10-year member of the Holy Family Young Hopefuls 4-H Club, Brooke has taken projects in candle making and home economics. Her plans to participate in the Miss 4-H contest began long ago.

“I have always thought of (the 4-H queen) as a role model,” Brooke said. “I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I can remember.”

The Junior Miss, Jessica Hilsmeyer, said the same. Since beginning 4-H, Jessica, 15, has always wanted to be a part of the queen contest and when a second contest for girls ages 14 to 16 was created this year, she knew she wanted to participate. Jessica is a member of the St. Henry Saints 4-H Club and has taken projects in ceramics and flowers.

Brooke said she and Jessica have become friends since meeting through the pageant. They got to know each other well during their hours of preparation in the last few days.

“We are going to have a great fair week,” Brooke said. “I’m so excited to get to spend the week with (Jessica). We’ve already talked about it.”

Brooke and Jessica will begin their duties when the fair kicks off Friday. They will be assisted by the rest of the queen’s court named on Saturday. This includes first runner-up Madeline Messmer, 18, daughter of Mark and Kim Messmer, Jasper; second runner-up and Miss Photogenic Victoria Hickman, 19, daughter of Steve Hickman, Shoals, and Becky Hickman, Jasper, and third runner-up Sara Hopf, 19, daughter of Tim and Barb Hopf, Huntingburg.

Contact April Dittmer at newsintern@dcherald.com.

More on DuboisCountyHerald.com