Alyssa Garnett recalls sending a letter to the 2006 State Fair queen and Miss Pulaski County, Bailey Hoover, and signing it her No. 1 fan.
This year, Garnett inherited the title Hoover once bore.
Earning the title of 2014 Miss Indiana State Fair is even more special to Garnett because, years after that 2006 letter, she was able to work closely with Hoover leading up to the moment she earned the crown.
Hoover, now the Miss Pulaski County pageant director, laughed, saying they talked about comparing the old photograph displaying the 11-year-old to the now Miss Indiana State Fair.
“As a director, it’s great to see someone be an example of what a young lady should be doing,” Hoover said. “I was proud sitting in the audience, whether she won or not, but to hear her name was so exciting.”
Other contestants from area counties placed in the top ten. Emily Robertson, Cass County, received first runner up and Larissa Landis, White County, was a finalist.
Garnett said she was not expecting it at all and was grateful for the experience.
“The most rewarding part of the contest was getting to meet the contestants,” Garnett said. “I made a lot of new friends.”
Emily Robertson, who earned first runner-up, agreed with Garnett.
Robertson said her favorite part of the weekend was getting to know the girls from different counties. At the beginning of the weekend, each contestant received a map of Indiana, and by the end Robertson had her entire map of participating counties signed, she said. She described the experience as unbelievable.
Garnett and Robertson said they each felt pride for their counties.
“It is so exciting to win this for Cass County,” Robertson said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Garnett agreed, saying she was proud do to it for Pulaski County.