Written by Kori Nesbit. Media by Ethan Maurer.
“What an absolute honor it was to be named First Runner-Up at the Miss Illinois State Fair Queen Pageant. I have seen God move in my life in so many ways throughout my reign as Miss Richland County. Thank you to everyone who prayed many prayers for me and sent so many words of encouragement. I appreciate all of the support. I feel incredibly blessed to be from Richland County!” Kylar Craig posted this, along with photos, on Facebook after her experience at the Miss Illinois State Fair Queen Pageant in Springfield, IL from January 18-21.
Craig, a Junior Social Work major at Greenville University, was crowned Queen at the Miss Richland County Fair Pageant over the summer. Since being crowned she has represented Richland County at countless events with pride.
Most recently, she competed against seventy other Illinois County Fair Queens in a multi-phase competition. The contestants were judged on their communication skills, physical fitness, and stage presence. Craig’s one-minute speech was on her left-handedness and had the crowd laughing in both the preliminary and final rounds.
Craig’s preparation for the state pageant shone through in every phase of the competition. She stated, “I prepared for the state competition by mock-interviewing several times a week, staying up-to-date on current events in the world, and performing my speech in front of as many people as possible.” These countless hours of practice, however, really became worth it when Craig was the fifth girl announced to be in the Top 15 and given the opportunity to compete in the finals for the crown.
“I was so excited when the emcee announced I was in the Top 15! I really wanted to show off my outfits and walk the stage a few more times,” Craig stated. She also mentioned that none of her success would have been possible without Richland County’s wonderful pageant committee. “I got to spend the week with three very fun women,” Craig explained, “My pageant director, Jane Cross, my hairdresser, Joni Ferguson, and a past State Queen, Sadie Gassmann. Those women treated me like the Queen I am by doing my hair and makeup and running to get whatever I needed to eat!”
Craig is from small-town Olney, IL, and is proud of it. “In my formal interview with the judges, I had the opportunity to tell them that my hometown of Olney and all of Richland County is the home of the white squirrels, and they thought that was very cool!,” she explained, “I received so much love and encouragement from my community prior to the pageant, which made me feel confident and even more excited to represent Richland County.”
Kylar Craig’s First Runner-Up finish at the State Fair Queen Pageant would not have been possible without the support of her loving family and friends, pageant committee, and Greenville University’s support. After the pageant, she said, “My directors know that I hold my faith close to me, so before I went on stage, I was told to let Jesus shine through me. I prayed for months that Jesus would radiate out of me, and I truly believe that he did.”