PHOTO: 2012 Fair Queen Holly Salzbrenner (right) helps Mackenzie Dietiker don her new sash as she is crowned the 2013 Great Jones County Fair Queen. (Photo by Emily Burds)
By Emily Burds, Express Intern
Mackenzie Dietiker received the shock of her life Tuesday night, July 16, when her name was announced as the 2013 Great Jones County Fair Queen.
The 18-year-old from Monticello said she didn’t know what to expect heading to the stage that night but knew that no matter what the outcome, she was happy to just be a part of the process.
“I was just up there having fun and was so glad to be a candidate at all,” she explained of the experience. Now she will not only represent Monticello but all of Jones County as she heads off to Des Moines for the State Fair Queen competition.
“I’ve never been to the State Fair so I’m really excited to see what it’s all about,” she explained. New friend and pageant judge Abrah Meyer, the 2012 State Fair Queen, gave the girls a little insight into the process following the pageant on July 7. Now Dietiker will compete against 99 other queens for the top title.
As for her role during this past fair week, Dietiker said it has all been a learning experience.
“I’ve never been involved in 4-H or FFA so I’m not well versed in that side of the fair which made me a bit different from the other girls,” she explained. But she caught on to the process quickly as she spent the week handing out ribbons and seeing what the fair is really all about.
“You really have to have heart and soul to be a part of all these shows,” she explained of the 4-H kids she met throughout the week. “It was so great to see all the kiddie shows and see the looks on the kids’ faces when you handed them a ribbon. They really lit up.”
Despite, not knowing much about livestock, Dietiker does know a thing or two about kids. She will be heading to Kirkwood this fall to receive her AA in education before transferring to the University of Northern Iowa to receive her teaching degree.
This past week she put those traits and her new interview skills learned during the pageant prep to the test, chatting with fairgoers all week long.
“Some people I think were a bit scared to talk to us or didn’t know how to approach us.” In those situations, Dietiker said she would try to go up to them instead and start the conversation, even going as far as to introduce herself to girls who could be candidates next year, doing some recruiting of her own. “I really have gained a lot of new skills and confidence from this experience,” she said.
She and Princess Brooke Stahlberg would never get very far before being stopped for pictures or a chat with a fan or friend. The word “Congratulations” was never-ending for the girls but both said they never got tired of hearing it.
“It really is an honor,” Dietiker said. She made sure to thank all her family and friends who supported her throughout the process in a Facebook post following coronation and kept her fans up-to-date on her whereabouts throughout the week, posting pictures from her nights spent on the track and even her adventure on the mechanical bull.
To Dietiker those nights of entertainment were the best part.
“I love the fair for the concerts and the entertainment so being able to be a part of that was just awesome.”
Of course meeting Thursday night’s musicians Gary Allan and Sheryl Crow had to be awesome too. Returning to the track following her meet and greet, she gushed of her encounter with Gary Allan saying, “He called me beautiful!”
Now with her week of fair fun over, Dietiker says it was a little bittersweet to see it end but that she is excited to see who runs next year and hand off her title. “I wish everyone would do this. Every girl should have this experience.”