Who’s the Fairest?

Five candidates in running for 2016 Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair to be crowned June 13
by Courtney Booth and Kara Abraham
Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair Committee


THE REIGNING SHEBOYGAN County Fairest of the Fair Elizabeth Widder (center) is shown with the five candidates vying to succeed her as the 2016 Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair (clockwise from front) Jenny Schwartz of Glenbeaulah, Vicki Payne of Plymouth, Haley Rautmann of Sheboygan Falls, Makayla Klumpyan of Plymouth and Sarah Schalk of Waldo. — All photos by Kelly Bindl MAKAYLA KLUMPYAN THE REIGNING SHEBOYGAN County Fairest of the Fair Elizabeth Widder (center) is shown with the five candidates vying to succeed her as the 2016 Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair (clockwise from front) Jenny Schwartz of Glenbeaulah, Vicki Payne of Plymouth, Haley Rautmann of Sheboygan Falls, Makayla Klumpyan of Plymouth and Sarah Schalk of Waldo. — All photos by Kelly Bindl MAKAYLA KLUMPYAN The Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair program is announcing five candidates who have applied to become the next Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair.

The 2016 Fairest will be named at the Fairest of the Fair Gala on Monday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at Laack’s Ballroom in Johnsonville.

The Fairest of the Fair serves as the official ambassador for the fair, welcoming families and individuals to attend the Sheboygan County Fair Labor Day Weekend. Throughout her year, the Fairest is involved in county-wide events such as festivals, picnics, parades, adult care center visits and youth events. While attending these events, she is the public relations professional that shares the story of what makes the fair unique and inviting for all.


VICTORIA PAYNE VICTORIA PAYNE Each candidate was asked to complete a two-page application, a 250- word essay titled “What is the best lesson learned participating as a fairgoer or exhibitor that you will use competing for the position of Fairest of the Fair?” and attach their personal resume. During the Fairest Gala, these five candidates will be highlighted in a live competition on-stage for the selection of the 2016 Fairest of the Fair.

There will be a three-person interview panel evaluating the candidates all day on criteria from their written applications, individual interviews, group interviews and Gala speaking performances.

All attending the Gala will witness the candidate’s self-introductions, 30-second radio advertisements, impromptu question/answers, on-stage presence, overall communications and knowledge of the fair.


HALEY RAUTMANN HALEY RAUTMANN Additionally, there will be entertainment by the Mosel Farm & Home 4-H Club, a farewell by outgoing Fairest Elizabeth Widder and an update from Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs Gloria Kessler. The master of ceremonies will be Walter Taylor of the Plymouth FFA.

The newly named Fairest will receive the Gene and Kathleen Kaestner Family Scholarship of $1,000 along with prizes. The first runner-up will receive a $500 scholarship award from Teunissen Green Acres Farms, LLC and Leading Dairy Solutions. Second runner-up will receive a $200 scholarship award from Bill and Pauline Jens Family. Third runner-up will receive a $150 scholarship award from Marlon and Margie Mehre. Fourth runner-up will receive a $100 monetary reward from the Fairest program. All candidates will receive numerous gift items for their participation.


SARAH SCHALK SARAH SCHALK Over 120 businesses from throughout Sheboygan County have donated their products and services to the Fairest of the Fair program. In addition to the prizes donated for the candidate gift baskets, the sponsoring food-based companies will feature their products for the public to enjoy at the “Winners’ Dinner” in celebration of the outstanding accomplishments of the candidates vying to become the next Fairest. For more information or questions about the event, please contact Courtney Booth, chair, at 920-946-4517.

To give readers a preview of the candidates and the exciting evening that is planned, we’ve asked the candidates to share a little more about themselves and some highlights from their essay.

Makayla Klumpyan, age 19, Plymouth, is the daughter of Paula and Terry Klumpyan. She is a graduate of Plymouth High School and is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin- River Falls where she is majoring in Agriculture Education with an Animal Science minor. She is employed at the UW- River Falls Dairy Pilot Plant where she assists in the making of various cheeses and ice creams. She is responsible for maintaining the safest food handling procedures and cleaning and sanitizing machinery to ensure a safe food product. Upon graduation, she plans to teach High School or Middle School Agriculture Education and become an FFA Advisor. One day, she also hopes to work for the USDA or Wisconsin Farm Bureau promoting agriculture to the public.


JENNIFER SCHWARTZ JENNIFER SCHWARTZ Klumpyan shares in her 250 word essay, “As an exhibitor of the Sheboygan County Fair for the last eight years, there are numerous lessons I have learned from leaders, members and my animals. One of the greatest lessons I learned as an exhibitor was to persevere no matter what struggles I came across. I didn’t always have it easy in the show ring, my horse wasn’t perfect and neither was I. I struggled as an exhibitor, from being bucked off in the middle of a class, to having a lame horse the day of my first class. I didn’t let these struggles damper my attitude and ultimately became a stronger individual because of it. Now, when I am going through something difficult and feel like giving up, I think of the little girl with tear-soaked eyes of disappointment and think of how she overcame her struggles to be who she is today,” adds Klumpyan.

“I will take this lesson, along with the numerous other lessons I’ve learned as an exhibitor at the fair, and utilize them in every aspect of the Fairest of the Fair competition. I hope to inspire other contestants to do so as well, by encouraging and supporting them throughout the competition. I think perseverance is a skill many people are lacking in today’s society and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to learn this skill from such a young age. I’m honored to be given the opportunity to give back to the county fair that has taught me more than I could ever imagine,” concludes Klumpyan.

Victoria (Vicki) Payne, age 18, Plymouth, is the daughter of Chuck and Kathy Payne. She is a graduate of Plymouth High School and is currently a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where she is majoring in Agricultural Education with a minor in Animal Science. She is a Student Worker at the UWRF Registrar’s

Office where she assists the Registrar and Credit Manager with daily duties. She is also currently employed at The Osthoff Resort as a Reservation Sales Agent where she receives calls, handles room, restaurant and activity reservations for guests at the AAA 4 Diamond Resort. Her future goals include graduating with a degree in Agricultural Education and beginning her career as an Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor. She would also like to continue riding and training horses.

Victoria shares in her 250 word essay, “Since 2007, I have been a Sheboygan County 4-H member and I have exhibited my horses and other projects at the fair every year, with the exception of last fall. Attending the fair for the first time without having a project there allowed me to reflect on the memories made and lessons learned in the eight years I spent as a fair exhibitor. To pick just one lesson from my experiences is difficult, but one of the most important is to help others whenever possible. Sheboygan County has the largest and most competitive Horse and Pony Project in the State, creating a hectic environment filled with tension and stress when showing at the county fair. I didn’t know how to handle these experiences when I started 4-H, but after years of showing, I found myself helping newer members with their horses and gave the advice on how to handle the stress. I realized how much I could help them grow and learn, and that I had passion for teaching. I began interacting more with people walking through the barns by showing them my horse and answering their questions. That’s when I realized that this was what the county fair is all aboutsharing experiences and growing in them. This is the most important lesson I learned from the fair, and it is the reason I am running for Fairest of the Fair – I want to help others understand what our county has to offer and advocate for agriculture,” concluded Payne.

Haley Rautmann, age 20, Sheboygan Falls, is the daughter of Brian and Deb Rautmann. She is a graduate of Howards Grove High School and is also a recent graduate of Lakeshore Technical College Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Program. She is currently employed at 20/20 Visions as an Ophthalmic Assistant where she performs various specialty tests and scans on patients and also assists in taking retinal photos. Her future goals after graduation include becoming CPO certified and CPOT certified while continuing her career as an Ophthalmic Assistant. She would also like to acquire her own cattle to begin showing in the open class division of the Sheboygan County Fair.

Haley shares in her 250 word essay, “As a Sheboygan County fairgoer and exhibitor, I think the most important lessons that I learned would have to be hard work and teamwork. The teamwork was a huge part of getting chores done and getting the animals ready for the show. When everyone showed up on time and was ready to work; morning chores and the remaining chores performed throughout the day went smoothly and quickly. Everyone is willing to help each other; even if they are not in the same club. We were all willing to give some advice, and make sure each other were ready for the big day,” adds Rautmann.

“Hard work is something that I learned when having a deadline to make. I learned quickly that it would take a lot of time and effort to get every single one of my projects ready for the fair. It would take all summer long, but when I put in the time and effort, the results were rewarding, and knowing my hard work paid off is priceless. Both teamwork and hard work are skills that I will take with me throughout my life, and I know helped make me who I am today. I know these skills will help me become the best possible Fairest of the Fair,” concludes Rautmann.

Sarah Schalk, age 22, Waldo, is the daughter of David and Debra Schalk. She is a graduate of Plymouth High School and is currently attending University of Wisconsin River Falls where she is double majoring in Animal Science with an emphasis in equine and Animal Science with an emphasis in meat animal and minoring in Agricultural Business. She is currently employed by Mills Fleet Farm where she assists customers in the Lawn and Garden Dept. She is also employed at Sundance Farms where she helps with various horse chores and fieldwork. After graduation her goals include attending graduate school at the University of Kentucky where she would like to be in the large animal nutrition field and specialize in equine and beef.

Schalk shares in her 250 word essay, “Being a fair exhibitor, I showed a variety of projects at the fair. One project took more precedence over the others. The Horse and Pony took up a majority of my time during the summer and at the County Fair. Over time, I grew away from other projects that I loved because the horses took over. I practically was living at the horse barn, but I missed being involved with other projects and exploring the fair. I made it a point to explore during my last few years as an exhibitor. Now as a spectator I go try everything, but I still coincide at the horse barn when I’m needed to help my sisters,” adds Schalk.

As the Fairest of the Fair it would be a goal to get exhibitors and even the public to explore the fair grounds. They need to escape their safe spot and enjoy all that the fair has to offer. I could do this by going to each of the buildings and promote all the exciting things to do at the fair. Another idea is to make a game out of it; have a booklet for the fairgoers and have them go to certain destinations to find and item or a particular person, ask about the area and get their signature. After receiving all signatures by the end of the fair we could have a drawing for a prize. This would be a great way to get fairgoers to explore the fair and have fun with it too,” concludes Schalk. Jennifer Schwartz, age 18, Glenbeulah, is the daughter of Eugene and Kathy Schwartz. She is a graduate of Plymouth High School and is currently attending Concordia University Wisconsin where she is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Communications. She is currently employed at Concordia University’s Learning Resource Center as a Front Desk Worker. This summer she will be working for the Manitowoc County Historical Society as an intern. She will help coordinate summer camps for kids and learn how a non-profit organization is run. Her future plans include obtaining her Doctorate in Psychology and opening a nonprofit mental health clinic in Sheboygan County that will serve all ages in the community.

Schwartz shares in her 250- word essay, “The best lesson I have learned was how to be a team player, and a member of something bigger, while participating as an exhibitor. I was showing pigs, for the very first time when I was a freshman in high school. It was always a dream of mine to show pigs, but I never could, since we did not live on a farm. I was given the opportunity to show by a family in our 4-H club at the time. The thing I really took from this is that even though we were all competing against each other, at the end of the day, we were there for each other. If someone was sick and had to go home, someone else would feed the animals for them. If someone forgot some equipment, someone else would let them borrow theirs. There was an underlying sense of community, and I think that is what makes the Sheboygan County Fair so great. Sure, it’s fun to compete against each other, but no matter what happens, there will always be that sense of community,” adds Schwartz.

“The way I would use this lesson for competing is very similar to showing pigs. Though we may be competitors, at the end of the day, we are all a part of something bigger. We are all competing to better not only ourselves, but our community. In this world today, there are a lot of bad things happening. There is pain and suffering all around the world, and even in our own country. But, almost everyone goes to the fair,” concludes Schwartz.


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