Taylor Ayars was crowned Queen of the 2019 Champaign County Fair during ceremonies on Sunday.
Addalyn Johnson and Elizabeth Schipfer were named first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively.
The daughter of Melinda and Bill Ayars, Queen Taylor graduated from Mechanicsburg High School this year and will enter Wilmington College in the fall to major in animal science, with a goal of later attending veterinary school.
She noted in her fair-queen application that she grew up on a farm and enjoys the people and animals in the agricultural industry. She does chores on the family farm, works at Wingfield Animal Clinic and has been involved in 4-H and FFA.
Through FFA, she has participated in showing cattle, public speaking and meat judging. This past school-year, she was president of the Mechanicsburg FFA chapter.
Asked what inspires her about participating in the county fair, Queen Taylor said, “Definitely my family and the youth. I am so proud of the fair … I do believe that our fair is one of the best fairs in Ohio. My family has always been huge supporters to me. They help me in the barns, from my little sister all the way to my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. So, I believe it’s the people here who inspire me.”
Asked about an experience at the fair that has provided her confidence, she said, “Definitely showing cattle. It takes a lot to have a partnership with a 1,400-pound animal. That bond with the animals gives me confidence for the future that I can accomplish anything, even if I am a girl.”
Queen Taylor encouraged young children to participate in the fair. “The fair is a great way to learn responsibility while taking an animal or a book project. It teaches the youth new information, like how to work with an animal and take care of another living being besides other people.”
Queen Taylor’s favorite part of the county fair?
“Hanging out in the barns with my family and having coffee and donuts with my grandpa in the mornings.”
“I’ve always dreamed of it, but I never thought it would actually happen,” she said about being queen of the county fair. “I grew up watching the queen contests with my family and seeing all the pretty girls, but I never thought I’d actually be here.”
Fair-queen candidates wrote essays on the following: “How has your involvement in the Champaign County Fair better prepared you for the future?” The following is Queen Taylor’s essay.
How has your involvement in the Champaign County Fair better prepared you for the future?”
“Since I was a baby, my family and I have attended the Champaign County Fair. It is my favorite week every year because I get to spend time with my family and friends, see everyone else’s projects they have worked hard on all year, present my own projects, make memories, and enjoy time with those around me. Over the years, Champaign County Fair has taught me many lessons to help prepare me for the future. I have learned how to interact and help others by working food booths, shows, pulls, and other events. I have learned to make every second count with the ones you love, and that your family will always be there for you. Lastly, the biggest lesson I have learned is what hard work truly means, and to never give up, even in tough situations.
“Thousands of people attend the fair every year. They come to watch the shows, ride the rides, eat great food, and enjoy our fair. I started at a very young age helping out in the Cattleman’s Food Booth outside the show ring. My first job consisted of getting lemonade or iced tea for people, and as I got older I was able to help serve the food. Dad and grandpa would cook on the grill, while I stayed in the tent (or after a few years we upgraded to a trailer) and prepared sandwiches and wraps. I got to meet so many new people on Cattlemen’s Board and those who came to see the Champaign County Fair. I also am a part of Champaign Jr. Fair Board, and I am currently serving as Secretary. Jr. Fairboard has taught me how to interact with all kinds of people, while still having a smile on your face. I have worked pulls, shows, and derbies at the fair. I really enjoy working with the different shows because I get to watch the youth present their projects. I understand the hard work it takes to care for an animal all year, and how proud they feel to present their project. While working a beef showmanship show, I learned to always be willing to lend a hand. I was checking calves in when I noticed a young girl crying. It was her first time showing and her calf started to act up. I remembered my first time showing, where I also cried because I was nervous, too. Her parents kept trying to persuade her to take the calf because it was almost time to go in to the ring, however, she refused. I then offered to help; I asked the girl and her parents if it would be okay if I walked the calf and she held the rope and walked beside me. She agreed to that and we manage to get the whole way through the show. She exited the ring with a smile on her face, and I could tell that her parents were relieved and proud of their daughter.
“Family has always played a huge role in my life, and the fair has taught me that family will always be there for you and will always be willing to lend a hand. Anyone who shows beef cattle knows that the projects takes your whole family’s help. The biggest help in my family would be my grandpa Ayars. Every morning in the summer, he would meet me at the barn before the sun rises to do our chores. He never complained of the early mornings, but he loved every minute of it. I loved every minute of chores, because I got to spend time with my grandpa. My grandpa and I have a tradition at fair that started a few years ago. Each morning, he would pick me up or meet me at the fairgrounds around 6:00 a.m. We usually were the first ones in the barns. While I began chores he would set up a 40-cup pot of coffee. After about an hour, we would finish our chores and the coffee would be ready. We set out two boxes of donuts for all to enjoy while we sat in our chairs by the calves and enjoyed a cup of coffee and donut together. It’s times like these that I have learned to love those around you and to not take any time for granted.
“The biggest lesson fair has taught me that has helped prepare me for the future is the meaning of hard work, and to never give up on tough situations. Showing cattle has taught me what hard work is. Before school, in the cold winter temperatures I would have to feed my calves. In the summer I would have to get up before the sun to do morning chores, and at night instead of going out with friends I waited until it was cool enough to let the calves back outside of the cooler room. However, all the hard work pays off, and even though I didn’t win every year, I was always proud of my calf and myself. My one calf Paco, taught me to never give up, and to not lose sight of what I love. It was a Wednesday night at the 2017 Champaign County Fair. I had just finished getting my 1,400 pound steer, Paco, prepared to go into the ring. We made our way to the ring, and Grandpa told me the same words he says before I enter any show ring: “Give ‘em hell.” Paco and I made our way into the show ring. Halfway through the show, Paco tried to mount another steer, but instead, mounted me. Falling to the ground hard, I got right back up and continued showing. I finished to show for the night, winning Champion FFA Steer. Later that night, my back felt as if I had been in a car wreck. I figured I was just sore from the fall, and I did not think too much about it. A week later, I was still dealing with the pain, so I went to my athletic trainer, who sent me to a doctor. After learning that I had fractured my vertebrae in my lower back, I was devastated. I was going to be out of playing volleyball my Junior year and was told to rest by the doctor. This also meant rest from my barn activities. After 3 months of resting, healing, and only wanting to get back into the barn, I was able to show my new calf, Mick, in Lima, Ohio. I learned what perseverance was and to never give up what you love.
“I am very thankful of the Champaign County Fair and all it has to offer. The fair has taught me many lessons including how to work with others, to never take time with loved ones for granted, what hard work is, and to never give up on what you love. These life lessons have shaped me into the person I am today, and I will continue to use these lessons in the future as I enter college and adulthood. I will always continue to support the Champaign County Fair and our youth, because I know without it, I would not be where I am today.”