McQuillen reaches ag pageant nationals

Rhias McQuillen of Monticello, 5, qualified as Jones County’s representative to the Future Little Miss Iowa Agriculture Pageant, and finished first to advance to national competition. (Photo courtesy of Janessa McQuillen)
Pete Temple
Express Sports/Ag Editor

   She stands, in the magazine cover-worthy photo taken by her mother, in an open field with agricultural equipment behind her.

   A big smile. Confident.

   Rhias McQuillen is 5. She is also Iowa’s state champion and qualifier to the Future Little Miss United States Agricultural pageant.   

   “She tried out for the Cowgirl Princess contest at the Great Jones County Fair,” said Janessa McQuillen, Rhias’ mother. “She didn’t win, but she didn’t care about that. She thought it was a fun experience.

   “We ran across pageants on Facebook after doing that, and an agricultural one came up. And since her dad (Colton) and family farm, and it’s been their thing for generations, we thought we’d give it a go.”

   The McQuillens submitted Rhias’ photo, and she was voted the Jones County champion.

   That made her eligible for the Iowa pageant, which was held Nov. 19 in Maryville, Mo. Too young to participate in an interview process, her pageant consisted of posing in outfits in the Introductory, Fun Fashion and Formal Wear competitions.

   At the pageant, she did a spin during her Fun Fashion walk.

   “She also waved and blew kisses,” Janessa said. “Her confidence was very impressive.”

   Some of that confidence may have come from the aforementioned Cowgirl Princess event. Rhias also participates in competition dance with Almost Famous Dance & Gymnastics in Monticello.

   With her win in the Iowa competition, Rhias will now compete in the national Future Little Miss U.S. Agriculture competition, set for July 7 and 8, 2023, in Enterprise, Ala. There, she will try to become national champion in her age group.

   Rhias has another competition before that. She will compete in the statewide Miss Heart of the USA pageant, set for Iowa City in March.

   Rhias said the best part of competing in a pageant is “having fun” and “dancing on stage.”

   She received a crown and sash for having won the Jones County competition. Asked which she liked better, she said, “I like both of them.”




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