GALLIPOLIS — The next time Mikayla Poling has the chance to guide a newcomer around the Gallia County Junior Fair, she plans to show them three key destinations on the grounds.
“The track because of the big diesel trucks and the smoke; the barns because of all the hard-working kids with their animals; and the steak tips and tater booth,” she said. “If you’ve never had it, it’s really good.”
As the 2016 Miss Gallia County, she’ll be able to do that as she accepted the crown Monday night during the annual Miss Gallia County Queen Pageant on the Holzer Main Stage of the fair.
Poling, a 2016 graduate of South Gallia High School, takes over for 2015 queen Ali Davis.
The pageant, as it did a year ago, stretched beyond 11:30 p.m. as there was a tie between two contestants — Poling and eventual first runner-up Alyssa Stapleton. Both had to answer an additional question before everything was settled with the judges.
Poling said she had a feeling her name would be called during the tie.
“I thought, ‘With my luck, it’s going to be me.’ I just knew it,” she said. “But I just went out there and just spoke from my heart.”
Poling, the daughter of the late David Poling, Michelle Poling-Williams and Paul Williams II, will now represent Gallia County at fairs and other events in the region and state for the next 365 days.
Other members of her court are Abigail Wood (second runner-up), Peyton Browning (third runner-up) and Jala Williams (fourth runner-up). Noelle Gibson was chosen Miss Congeniality and Wood was named the Community Service Award winner.
At South Gallia, Poling, of Crown City, was involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes; served as president of BETA Club; president of Future Farmers of America; senior class president; member of Leo Lions Club; State History Day qualifier; Business Professionals of America; PRIDE; yearbook staff; varsity softball; varsity cheerleading; varsity basketball; and was a pre-Prom crash simulation participant.
In the community, she is a member of Guyan Valley Missionary Baptist, Mercerville Baptist Teen Group, District 2 firefighter, Gallia County Junior Fair board member, president of Pairs & Spares 4-H Club, babysitting for Gallipolis Junior Women’s Club, Shining Stars After-School program, served Thanksgiving dinner at Hannan Trace Elementary, Operation Christmas Child, Toasty Toes Shoe Drive, Taking It to The Streets Project and Gallipolis in Lights.
Poling plans to attend Shawnee State University to study dental hygiene.
Stapleton, of Mercerville, is the daughter of Cliff and Jody Stapleton. At South Gallia High School, she was involved in FFA, where she served as treasurer; National Honor Society, where she served as president; BETA Club; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Pride; Leo Lion’s Club; Student Council, where she served as secretary; Principal’s Advisory Council; varsity softball; and varsity cheerleading.
In her community she has been involved in: The 4-H Club, the Thivener Pioneers, of which she is now serving as vice president; Junior Fair Board; Youth Group at Mercerville Baptist Church; and ministers to the patients at Arbors Nursing Home.
Stapleton plans to attend Marshall University to study pre-med with a minor in art.
Wood, of Gallipolis, is the daughter of Allen and Sheila Wood and a rising senior at Gallia Academy High School.
Browning is the daughter of Ryan and Donna Browning of Bidwell. She is a 2016 graduate of River Valley High School.
Williams, of Gallipolis, is the daughter of Kenny and Paula Williams. She is also a rising senior at Gallia Academy High School.
Gibson, a graduate of River Valley High School, resides in Vinton and is the daughter of Derek and Tonya Gibson.
Poling said she is looking forward to the coming year as Miss Gallia County.
“I feel awesome. It’s a privilege to represent this county and I’m excited that I’ll be able to go out with my court this year and have a great time,” she said.
Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.