GALLIPOLIS — It took a panel of judges until about 11:30 p.m. to reach a decision, but when all was said and done, Ali Davis emerged as the new 2015 Miss Gallia County.
The pageant, which began at 9:30 p.m., saw 12 Gallia County girls vie for the title on the main stage on the opening night of the Gallia County Junior Fair.
McKenzie Hall was selected first runner-up for the second consecutive year, while Kaci Alger was named second runner-up. Ciara Small was third runner-up and Peyton Browning was fourth runner-up.
Lexie Johnson was picked Miss Community Service and Davis was named Miss Congeniality as well as Miss Gallia County.
“I’m very excited to win the title,” Davis said immediately after the conclusion of the pageant. “It means I can be the face of the fair and promote tourism in our county. I would really like to see us relocate the fair over the next year and I am very excited for the opportunities coming up.”
Davis was speaking about an initiative to relocate the fair from its present location to higher ground nearby because of current flooding issues. The Gallia County Commission last week approved ballot language for a county-wide one-quarter of one percent tax sales increase to help in the Gallia County Junior Fairground relocation effort. The tax would essentially cost taxpayers one penny for every $4 spent, or 25 cents for every $100 spent.
As for the nervous moments during the pageant, Davis said the question-and-answer session was “very intimidating.”
“It felt like six hours, but it was really only five minutes,” she said. “As soon as you get that question done, it’s so much weight off your shoulders. It was intimidating, but it was a blast.”
Davis, a recent graduate of Gallia Academy High School, is the daughter of Mick and Martha Davis of Gallipolis. During high school, she was involved with National Honor Society, Key Club, Spanish Club, Interscholastic Equestrian Association, statistician for varsity and junior varsity soccer team, peer tutor, and graduated with honors and was in top 10 percent of her class.
In the community, she has been involved in mentoring 4-H members, donations to local dog shelter, participated in Cardboard City, assisting with a Guiding Hands Christmas party, three-year member of Gallia County Junior Fair Board, 13-year 4-H member and is currently serving as president of Rio Wranglers 4-H club.
Davis plans to attend Wilmington College to study equine business management.
Hall is the daughter of Matt Hall and Eileen Brown of Gallipolis. She is a 2015 graduate of River Valley High School.
During high school, she was involved in National Honor Society, FCA, FFA, serving as president and reporter, Parliamentary Procedure team member competing at local, state and national level, Leo Club, Beta Club, varsity cheerleader, Student Council, class president, Model United Nations, SADD club and Pride Club. She was also a HOBY ambassador and HOBY facilitator alternate, Regional Scholar and Scholar Athlete.
In her community, Mackenzie has been involved in volunteering in the after-school program at Vinton Elementary School, serving as a 4-H recruiter. She has participated in food drives, MS walk, Senior Citizen Prom, Red Cross Blood Drives, youth cheerleading coach, senior citizen Christmas caroling, Relay for Life, Treat Street, Carteens, and volunteered at local school carnivals. She has served as a camp counselor, junior fair board member, in junior leaders, on the teen leadership team, and as a carteens session leader.
Hall plans to attend Ohio University in the fall to pursue a career as a physician.
Alger, of Bidwell, is the daughter of Kelly and Ann Alger. She will be a senior at Gallia Academy High School. During high school, she has been involved in FCCLA, Fuel Pp to Play 60, Gallia County Dairy Club and Gallipolis FFA chapter.
In her community, she has been involved in Farm City Day, County Ag Day, Gallia County Preview Show, Gallia County Cattleman’s Association, Gallia Academy Blood Drive, Quality Assurance presenter, Gallia County Junior Fair Kiddie Tractor Pull and Relay for Life.
She plans to attend The Ohio State University to study livestock nutrition and veterinary medicine.
Small, of Mercerville, is the daughter of Trevor and Sonya Small. She is a graduate of South Gallia High School.
During high school, she was involved in National Beta Club, South Gallia FFA, softball, track, basketball, choir and post-secondary education options.
In her community, Small has been involved in Gallia County Agriculture Awareness Day, Holzer Heart Run and Walk, MS Walk, Hannan Trace Community Service Project, American Red Cross Water Drive, Take It to the Streets and Mercerville Missionary Baptist Senior Youth.
She plans to attend Ohio University to study psychology.
Peyton, who will be a senior this year at River Valley High School, is the daughter of Ryan and Donna Browning of Bidwell. During high school, she has been involved in National Honor Society, Beta Club, Student Council, Freshman Focus Mentor, LEOS Club, Art Club, volleyball, FCA and HOBY. She has been the FFA treasurer and is the FFA vice-president elect.
In her community, she has been involved in 4-H for 12 years, currently serving as club president. She is also a member of the junior fair youth board. She has participated in “Adopt a Road,” tutoring an elementary student, assists with the planting and upkeep of the flower beds at her high school, and attends White Oak Baptist Church.
Browning plans to attend Ohio University to study education, pursuing a secondary teaching license and eventually becoming a school administrator or school psychologist.
Other contestants were Katie Curtis, Maddison Siders, Whitney Clagg, Brylee Harder, Teah Elliott and Alisha Thomas.
Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.