July 25, 2014

Elyria
Clear
54°F
test

Meet the fair’s equine royal candidates

It’s not just the king and queen who rule in the fair kingdom. The four finalists in the 2011 Miniature Horse Princess competition will, after five months of more-friendly-than-fierce competition, finally hear who reigns supreme in Ring A at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

From left, Brittany Mills, 16, Brianna Bunt, 16, Bonnie Pepin, 17, and Jordan Heck, 14, pose at a “cake walk” event, held as a part of their 4-H miniature princess candidacy.

From left, Brittany Mills, 16, Brianna Bunt, 16, Bonnie Pepin, 17, and Jordan Heck, 14, pose at a “cake walk” event, held as a part of their 4-H miniature princess candidacy.

Finalists Jordan Heck, 14, Bonnie Pepin, 17, Brianna Bunt, 16, and Brittany Mills, 16, will come together for the last time Monday night, directly before the King and Queen headliners.

And the competition was tough, Jordan said.

“We all did pretty well — it’s kind of hard to tell who’ll win,” she said.

Despite her age as the youngest candidate to participate, Jordan remains confident of her chances Monday. “I feel like competition.”

Jordan and the rest of the girls have made it through a series of tasks — from essay-writing to public-speaking to skill-judging — and have been graded on a complex point system. The winner? The girl who’s accrued the greatest number of cumulative points throughout all of the rounds.

And that’s what the event is all about — to find a well-rounded miniature royal who shines in all events. The competition, according to the committee of judges, is about preparation, practice and proficiency in all of the events, not just one.

The contest, celebrating its 10th year, is open to 14- to 18-year-old 4-H girls from all over the county who have signed up in a miniature horse project, but these four teens are the cream of the crop.

Not only that, but this has to be a passion for these girls, as well.

“You could clearly tell that they have a love for their horse and they have the whole package,” said Pat Klingshirn, the chairwoman of the judging committee.

Despite their stellar performances, the most important rule stressed in all of this is not how the girls walk the walk or talk the talk, but how they hold themselves when they play the game.

“Sportsmanship is the No. 1 thing,” Klingshirn said. “It’s all about how they congratulate each other, and how they react at show … we didn’t want it to become a popularity contest.”

None of the four girls are divas. They all spoke highly of one another — sounding more like confidantes than competitors.

“They become friends, they do,” Klingshirn said.

“They have to work with each other. You’re out there in the ring and you have to be a good spirit about everything. You have to be on your best behavior.”

So who will it be? The judges won’t breathe a word until the envelope is opened.

“My judges were really impressed,” Klingshirn said. “All of them said that the girls were all really intelligent, impressive, well-mannered, courteous, and easy to talk to … You could clearly tell that they have a love for their horse and they have the whole package. They’re all capable of holding this title.”

Meet the candidates

Jordan Heck

  • Age: 14
  • School: Keystone High School
  • Daughter of: Keith and Jackie Heck
  • Years in 4-H: Nine
  • 4-H Club: Another 4-H Club
  • Miniature Horse’s Name: Nugget
  • Favorite part of the fair? “I always get a slushy at this one stand, and I’m looking forward to
  • having one of those and hanging out with friends I don’t get to see very often. It’s a good end to the summer.”

Bonnie Pepin

  • Age: 17
  • School: Avon High School
  • Daughter of: Paul and Olive Pepin
  • Years in 4-H: 4
  • 4-H Club: Another 4-H Club
  • Miniature Horse’s Name: Clyde
  • Future plans? “To attend Lorain county Community College, then attend a university to study zoology.”

Brianna Bunt

  • Age: 16
  • School: Firelands High School
  • Daughter of: Chris and Heather Milliron
  • Years in 4-H: Four
  • 4-H Club: Henrietta Dream Catchers 4-H Club
  • What else will Brianna be up to at the fair? Besides showing her mini horse, she’ll also be showing her two goats.

Brittany Mills

  • Age: 16
  • School: Western Reserve High School
  • Daughter of: Keith and Brenda Mills
  • Years in 4-H: 8
  • Miniature Horse’s Name: Little Lord Fairfax or “Lordy”
  • What are you looking most forward to at the fair this year? “My favorite part is the showmanship part of it … I love working with my horse.”

Contact Emily Kennedy at 329-7243 or ekennedy@chroniclet.com.