By Louis Wyatt
HUNTERTOWN — Amber Hoopengardener, a Carroll High School graduate from Churubusco, was named Miss Allen County for 2019. Hoopengardener was one of 13 women competing for reign over the Allen County Fair during the Allen County Queen Pageant Sunday night at Carroll High School.
Hoopengardener currently attends Purdue University where she is pursuing a degree in agribusiness with a concentration on marketing and a minor in animal sciences. She hopes to one day start a marketing business to help mom and pops compete with larger businesses, she said.
Hoopengardener was a 10-year 4-H member, as well as a member of Carroll FFA all four years she was in high school. During that time, she held several offices including chapter treasurer, chapter president, district treasurer and district president. Hoopengardener graduated from Carroll in 2018.
During her free time, Hoopengardener likes to ride horses. She has also attended the Indy 500 for the past 11 years in honor of her grandfather.
Contestants during Sunday’s pageant were judged in four categories — a one-on-one interview earlier in the afternoon, professional wear, evening wear and on-stage question — for a possible 110 points.
Hoopengardener’s on-stage question during the final stage of competition was “If your house was on fire and you could only take three items with you, what would they be?”
“First I would take my Bible because all things are possible through Christ that strengthens me,” she said. “I would take my camera because life’s most beautiful moments are captured with a camera, and third, I would take a bag of marshmallows because all show pigs need marshmallows in a very stressful moment.”
Hoopengardener was crowned by reigning queen Megan Brelage, a Bishop Dwenger graduate who also attends Purdue.
“I had so much fun getting to know all these amazing women today,” Brelage said. “They all worked so hard and I am so proud of all of them. It takes a lot of confidence and courage to get up on this stage.”
Joining the queen’s court Sunday were fourth runner-up Bridget Bane (Churubusco), third runner-up Carly Wilcox (Roanoke), second runner-up Bekah Huelsenbeck (Avilla) and first runner-up Maranda Malcolm (Garrett). Bane was also selected by the audience as this year’s people’s choice contestant. Sophia Slates was named miss congeniality by the other 12 contestants.
This year is the 30th anniversary for the Allen County Queen Pageant, as well as the Allen County Fair. The pageant is the first special event held as part of the fair, which begins Tuesday.
“We encourage everybody to come out, experience what the fair has to offer, ride a ride, get a funnel cake, go to the 4-H food booth and enjoy your time,” Allen County Fair Board of Directors member Michelle Love said.