When it comes to the county fair, there’s probably no one that loves it anymore than Kaitlyn Riley, the Crawford County Fairest of the Fair.
Kaitlyn took a liking to the county fair as a young farm girl from Mt. Zion and it just blossomed from there. With her father’s encouragement, Kaitlyn competed in a variety of events. There were art projects and chickens and, of course, there were the family’s Jersey dairy cattle.
Over the years, the art projects ended and the chickens are gone from the farm, but the Jerseys remain and Kaitlyn keeps showing them. In addition to the county fair, with encouragement and support from her parents, Jody and Paulette Riley, she went on to show their Jersey cattle at the Wisconsin State Fair as well.
This week, Kaitlyn joined Crawford County Fair Coordinator Amanda Nagel and other members of the county fair committee at the 91st Annual Convention of Fairs held at the Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells.
While Nagel and the others attend workshops and gather ideas for this summer’s fair, Kaitlyn will compete with 40 other contestants to try to become the 2014 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair in representing the state fair and other local fairs in Wisconsin next year.
Kaitlyn readily acknowledges winning the competition is a long shot given all the competition, but she’s in it for the experience anyway.
Friends that participated last year told her it was a lot of fun and they learned a lot along the way. She also figures it might be good for her planned career in public relations and marketing after she graduates from the University of Wisconsin this spring.
In addition to being the Crawford County Fairest of the Fair, Kaitlyn also served as the Wisconsin Jersey Queen and had a blast competing for the National Jersey Queen title.
All the competition, whether competing in the ‘Fairest’ competition or showing cattle has taught Kaitlyn some good life lessons.
“I learned to stop dreading things,” Kaitlyn said with a smile recalling all of the competition. Somehow, one gets the feeling that win or lose in this week’s competition, Kaitlyn will happily accept the results.
While Kaitlyn Riley is about to end her reign as Crawford County Fairest of the Fair, two other young women, Sarah Achenbach and Mikaela Baker are competing to take her place. The winner of that competition will be announced at the Crawford County Fair’s ‘Fairest of the Fair Gala’ scheduled for
Friday, Jan. 24 in Eastman.
The event will be held in the Friendship Hall of the Eastman United Church on Main Street. It kicks off at 6 p.m. with a pre-Gala reception complete with music and a dessert auction preview. The dinner and awards gala starts at 7 p.m. and is followed by the fundraising dessert auction.
Tickets to the ‘Fairest of the Fair Gala’ are $5 and can be purchased at the UW Extension Office in Prairie du Chien or tickets can be reserved by calling UW-Extension at 608-326-0223.