BERNHEIM - Stefanie Elizabeth Stillwell knew that there were a lot of beautiful girls she was competing against on Monday night as the Miss Bullitt County Fair Pageant kicked off the annual week long summer festival.
It was for that reason that Stillwell had to make sure that she had heard what she thought she heard when her name was called as the 2012 winner. Once she had cleared her head and told herself that it really was her name that had been called, she stepped forward to be crowned by 2011 Miss Bullitt County Fair, Shelby Daugherty.
"I had to second-guess myself that they really had said number 15," Stillwell said of her number in the pageant as she talked outside the dressing area after making her walk down the runway. "I'm still shaking a little. I haven't calmed down yet. I didn't expect to win."
Winning wasn't really the goal when Stillwell woke up on Monday, but it sure did feel good when it did happen.
"I has just hoping to have fun," the 18-year old daughter of Tim and Kristal Stillwell said. "After that it was just whatever happens, happens."
This was not the first beauty pageant for Stillwell. In fact, she was the third runner-up in this competition last year. A few years earlier she was Miss Teen Bullitt County Fair. She has also competed in pageants that are part of the Mount Washington Spring Festival, having won one of the younger titles in her past.
Competing again this summer was not something Stillwell took lightly. She said that she had wrestled for the past two months to find just the right dress.
"I've been doing this since I was little, so why not try it again," she said. "My mom motivated me when I was younger, but this year it was something I said that I wanted to do."
The Miss Bullitt County Fair Pageant is a three-part event. Before the public sees the swimsuit and evening gown sections under the pavilion, there is an interview with the judges earlier in the day.
"Really, I thought I did OK in all three portions," the recent Bullitt East graduate said. "I knew there were very beautiful girls here. I didn't expect to come out winning.
"The interview always gets me real nervous," Stillwell said of her third venture into this event. "But I think that swim suit was the most difficult."
In this pageant, Stillwell was sponsored by Valu-Market in Mount Washington where she is employed.
Stillwell, who is 5-3, 115-pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes, will reign over the Bullitt County Fair for the rest of this week and during the winter she will compete in the state competition against girls from other Kentucky county fairs.
Before that though, Stillwell will start college at Eastern Kentucky University this fall. She plans to major in psychology with hopes of one day becoming a child psychologist and working with abused children.
The first runner-up on Monday night was 18-year old Taylor Brianne Humphrey. She is the daughter of Suzanne and David Humphrey and is a student at Bellarmine University and was sponsored by Regis Bridal and Prom.
Winning the second runner-up trophy was Abby Lea Karcher, the 21-year old daughter of Steve and Sandy Karcher. She is a student at Jefferson Community and Technical College and was sponsored by Casta Ways Consignment Shop.
Being awarded the third runner-up trophy was Taylor Whitehead. The 19-year old daughter of Tracy Graf is a student at the University of Louisville. She was sponsored by Okolona Batting Cage.
The fourth runner-up honors went to Kayla Eileen Reynolds who is a student at the University of Louisville. She is the 19-year old daughter of David and Kristin Reynolds. Reynolds was sponsored by Sun Tan City.