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CLERMONT - Just call it the Kindra Clark phenomena.
Clark, the reigning Miss Bullitt County Fair, started her whirlwind year winning at the local level before going on to win Miss Kentucky USA honors and competing in Las Vegas in the Miss USA pageant.
Lots of girls saw that path and thought they would try to catch that magic in a bottle themselves. That brought a record 17 girls out to compete on Monday night in the 2010 version of the Miss Bullitt County Fair pageant.
The older, college- age girls had the upper hand this year in the contest for those between the ages of 16 and 21. The final name called was that of Dana Alaine Winchell, who proudly stepped forward to be crowned by Clark who stayed true to her small town roots.
“Kindra Clark winning Miss Kentucky (USA) motivated me to do this,” Winchell said after she stepped out of the overheated dressing room on a hot and humid opening night of the Bullitt County Fair.
“I had a blast,” Winchell said of winning the title in a contest she had not competed in for five years. “It was fun despite how hot it was. My hair isn’t always this curly.”
Winchell, the 21-year old daughter of Melissa and Todd Winchell, is a 2007 graduate of North Bullitt High School. She now attends Indiana University Southeast where she is majoring in Secondary Education with a specialty in science. Her minor is U.S. History.
At one time, Winchell entered an open audition for America’s Next Top Model. That didn’t deliver at the time and Winchell concentrated on her studies. But, the pageant bug stayed with her and she decided to return to the Miss Bullitt County Fair event, just her third pageant ever.
“I wasn’t thinking about winning,” Winchell said when asked what her plan was when the day started. “I was definitely thinking just have fun.”
As most of the winners will say when the evening is over, the hardest part for the contestants was the one-on-one meeting with the judges prior to the public part of the contest.
“I thought the interview was the hardest part for me,” The blonde haired-green eyed winner said. “I think it went well. I think I nailed two of the three questions.”
Once the contest moved under the pavilion, the girls were led out on the stage by Clark as they were dressed in leisure wear. After an intermission, the girls appeared again before the judges in swimwear. The closing part had the contestants saying a few words and then walking the runway in evening wear.
Finally, there was the long wait for the judges’ scorecards to be tallied. After Clark made her last walk and said a few words, the nervous contestants started hearing the judges’ results.
Before Winchell was crowned the winner, the judges awarded four runner-up trophies.
The first runner-up was 19-year old Shelby Lynn Daugherty, the daughter of Kevin and Tara Daugherty. She attends Elizabethtown Community College. Daugherty was sponsored by KWD Restorations.
Next up was the second runner-up, Brandi Raechelle Finn, the 18-year old daughter of Robin Gehlbach. She attends Indiana University Southeast. Finn was sponsored by Hester’s Family Fitness.
The third runner-up was Jenna Lee Florence, a 21-year old student at Campbellsville University. She is the daughter of Steve and Adonna Florence. Florence was sponsored by Cyclone Farm and Home Center.
Getting the fourth runner-up trophy was 19-year old Abby Leah Karcher, a student at Jefferson Community College. She is the daughter of Steve and Sandy Karcher. Karcher’s sponsor was Notebook Learning Center.