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Maupin prepares for state pageant

PRINCETON — Miss Bureau County Fair Queen 2012 Tiana Maupin of Princeton has her evening gown, swimsuit and business suits selected. She’s practicing her speech and asking herself random interview questions.

Maupin is ready and as prepared as she can get for the 2013 Miss Illinois County Fair Pageant, set for Jan. 17-20 in Springfield.

On Sunday, Maupin was honored at a reception at the Bureau County Metro Center, at which she modeled the outfits which she will wear for the state pageant and also gave her one-minute speech.

Maupin is one of 72 contestants competing in the state pageant, which is stocked full of rehearsals prior to the Jan. 20 pageant itself, Maupin said Monday morning. The first day, Jan. 17, will include checking into the hotel, taking group pictures, learning a production number and basically a run through of how “pageant day” will go. On Jan. 18, she will compete in the interview portion of the competition. When not interviewing, contestants will be practicing. On Friday evening, she will go out for dinner with her family and her fair family.

On Jan. 19, the state pageant is split into a morning group and an evening group; Maupin competes in the evening group. At the end of Saturday evening competition, all contestants will come back on stage for a grand march. All contestants compete in an interview, a one-minute speech of their choice, swimsuit, evening gown, and three on-stage questions.

Following a final practice on Sunday morning, the county fair queens will attend a luncheon for the 2012 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Brittani Schisler. The final competition begins at 4:30 p.m. with a grand march and a dance routine performed by all the contestants. Following the dance routine, the Top 15 are announced. While the non-finalists change into their evening gowns for the final grand march, the Top 15 contestants start the competition all over again, Maupin said.

For the state pageant, Maupin has chosen a teal, strapless evening gown, with heavy Aurora-Borealis beading throughout the top. Another favorite outfit is the yellow business suit which she has borrowed from Leah Metcalf, the 2010 Miss Bureau County Fair Queen, Maupin said.

Looking ahead to the state pageant, Maupin said she believes her strongest areas are speech and communication. Again, her experience with the county fair pageant has definitely helped her become more confident in everything she does. Also, working as a hair stylist has helped her tremendously, Maupin added.

In some ways, Maupin said she’s starting with an advantage because she has wonderful directors who have kept her on her toes. She attended the Northern Zone queen meeting in November where she had the chance to do a mock interview, which has helped her relax a little. Also, as coach for the Mendota cheerleaders, she uses her time on the drives to and from Mendota to practice her speech. She even asks herself random questions before she goes to bed at night.

But serving as the Miss Bureau County Fair Queen has been the greatest preparation for the state pageant, Maupin said. Thanks to the Cain Family, she have learned lots of information regarding agriculture and how it works. She’s also had the “ultimate experience” of driving a combine and climbing up into a grain bin.

“I am definitely not an expert, but I truly think that has helped me prepare for state. And I appreciate farming a lot more now,” Maupin said.

No matter how well-prepared a contestant may be, there’s no way not to face the state pageant without a bit of nerves, Maupin said.

“I simply just try to stay calm. And, I just have to remember to use all the advice I have ever received to my best ability, to have fun, and to just be myself,” Maupin said.

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