Clay County Queen Abby Salton wins state crown
By Elliott Fifer
Daily Staff Reporter
When 17-year-old Abby Salton won the Personality Plus title this past Saturday at the Iowa State Fair, she was overcome with joy.
"Me and the other queens, we all voted on one person, so all those votes are counted and whoever has the most votes wins the Personality Plus contest," she said of receiving the first honor. "That one is special because I know I got that from all the other girls."
When Salton's name was called again as the winner of the 2007 Iowa State Fair Queen Pageant, she was shocked.
"When they called me again for queen, I was like, 'did they just say Clay County again?'" Salton recalled of her even bigger moment.
"They put the crown on my head and I was just in shock. I really don't remember what was going through my head."
The daughter of Russ and Sue Salton, Abby is a two sport athlete at Spencer High School, where she will serve as class president as a senior in the fall. Along with playing basketball and soccer for the Tigers, she said she has been a member of 4-H for nine years, has been active in ministry at her church, and even finds time to "work on the farm."
Salton was chosen out of 102 contestants from around the state who participated in this year's competition. All had been crowned queen of their respective county fairs prior to the Iowa State Fair.
As a longtime Clay County fairgoer, Abby said she was honored to represent Clay County in Des Moines and summed up the whole experience by saying, "It's just been crazy."
"It's just a big part of who I am and [my family and I have] always gone to the Clay County Fair," she said. "It means a lot to us, so I just thought it would be awesome to represent the fair."
Each of the contestants were put through a series of one-on-one and group interviews, along with participating in different workshops during the fair. Judging was based on personality, attitude, awareness, leadership, citizenship, overall appearance, charm and poise.
As the newly acclaimed State Fair Queen, Abby will take on the queen's responsibilities for the next year. As part of her second day as fair queen on Monday, Abby said she worked in the livestock barn, paid a visit to the commercial building, went to the fair's museum, and even threw horseshoes.
"It's been a great, once-in-a-lifetime experience," she said. "It's just been a blast."
Abby said she will also have the opportunity to see Dierks Bentley, to watch the Iowa Idol contest, and--she continued with a laugh--to milk a goat.
The crown was awarded in front of a large crowd on the Anne and Bill Riley Stage this past Saturday at the state fairgrounds. For winning, Abby receives a $2,500 scholarship and $300 U.S. Savings Bond from the Iowa State Fair in addition to her crown, sash and trophy. She also received a floral bouquet from Boesen the Florist, and another $100 U.S. Savings Bond for winning the Personality Plus contest.
Holly Illingworth, 18, of Warren County was named first runner-up. Elizabeth Smith of Dickinson County was given the Outstanding Leadership Award, and all members of the Royal Court received a plaque from the State Fair and a floral bouquet from Boesen the Florist.
The Iowa State Fair Queen Pageant was first held in its current format in 1964. This year's Iowa State Fair "Sounds Like Fun," and runs now through Sunday, Aug. 19.