HOWARD CITY — The competition was fierce, but even when the race came down to a tie, Nicole Newell pulled ahead for the win.
Newell, 18, was crowned the 2012 Howard City Harvest Festival queen Tuesday night at Tri County High School. She is the daughter of Dawn and the late John Edward Newell.
Wearing a flattering daffodil yellow dress with sparkly black high heels, her dark hair cascading down her shoulders, Newell impressed the judges with her confident attitude and style. She spoke eloquently about having overcome many challenges in her young life, including the loss of her father, in addition to numerous injuries.
Looking to the future, Newell, a biology major, said one day she sees herself opening an optometry clinic just for children, with a fun atmosphere. She said she wants to be a role model for young women.
“I want to show the girls of this town that being confident will take them farther than anything,” she said. “I want young girls to take their future into their hands and be who they want to be, not who someone else thinks they should be.”
Nina Hadley, 16, the daughter of Linda Hadley, was crowned first runner-up after a tie-breaker with Newell. The two young women each had to give an impromptu speech before judges Jeffrey Sluggett, Norma Sower and Leslie Wood decided on a winner.
Ashlyn Sutton, 16, the daughter of David and Lori Widrig and Kyle Sutton, was crowned second runner-up.
Jenna Butler, 16, the daughter of Nancy Butler, and Jessie Frisbie, 17, the daughter of John and Stephanie Frisbie, also participated in Tuesday’s pageant.
Katie Busch, 7, bested four other competitors for the title of princess. The daughter of Vanesse Busch charmed in a peach dress as she explained to the judges how she likes to use flower petals to create unique arts and crafts.
Other princess contestants included Annabell Carlton, 7, the daughter of Johnny and Estell Carlton, Cambrie Johansen, 8, the daughter of Scott and Dawn Johnson, Haylee Prescott, 6, the daughter of Carlie Prescott, and Laila Harvey, 7, the daughter of Jon and Crystal Cross.
The annual Howard City Harvest Festival will take place Sept. 14-16.