Mia Steben, a home-schooled sophomore from Sequim, stood before her fellow royalty court candidates and a room full of well-wishers Saturday afternoon.
“I’m a person that likes challenges,” she told them.
A few minutes later Steben was crowned Clallam County Fair Royalty queen, and now Steben and her princesses — senior Hannah Fritz and junior Hannah Gauthun — can look forward to a whirlwind of royalty responsibilities. The 2014 fair royalty court are scheduled to ride in nine parades, participate in multiple community service events totaling more than 400 hours each and stand in the spotlight at the Aug. 14-17 Clallam County Fair.
Steben won over the judges at the Clallam County Fair Royalty Tea and Coronation with her presentation Saturday at the Clallam County Fairgrounds, detailing her experiences with family members as they work in the commercial fishing industry. She recalled experiences in the past three years in Alaska’s Bristol Bay (home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery) that helped her learn life lessons.
“It takes struggles to achieve something,” Steben said. “I learned the importance of perseverance.”
Fritz said her experience as a lifeguard taught her about leadership.
“I’m definitely more confident,” Fritz told the judges. “I learned how to enforce rules. When you’re being a leader, you don’t want to always be a dictator.”
Gauthun talked about her experiences playing tennis for the Sequim High School team, and her inspiration that came from learning about Maureen Connolly Brinker, winner of nine Grand Slam singles titles in the early 1950s.
“I became so inspired (and) I fell in love with the game,” Gauthun said, noting her effort to earn a spot at the 2A state tournament last spring. “I know that I want to get back (to state). It will take commitment and determination. If you’re committed and determined … you can do anything.”
Event attendees were encouraged to sip tea with the court and some well-known “Disney” princesses and help the royalty court by bidding on silent auction items.
The county fair queen earns a $500 scholarship and princesses earn $400 scholarships.