Jenna Wilshusen and Natalie Boyd round out the 2023 pageant’s court

PASO ROBLES — Opening day of the California Mid-State Fair (CMSF) brought the crowning of a new court after the conclusion of the 2023 Miss California Mid-State Fair Pageant. The pageant began at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19, with eight girls from all over the county vying for their spot to be part of the 2023 court. The contestants were judged on interview, fair proposal, talent, evening gown, and final question segments. 

The Fair Proposal-Making a Difference, is new to the pageant and asked the contestants what they would change or add to the CMSF if they were given $1,000. Emcee Chad Stevens told the crowd the new Queen will work with the fair’s staff and board of directors to implement her winning proposal at the 2024 CMSF.

Twenty-year-old Kerrigan Jensen of Santa Margarita was crowned Miss California Mid-State Fair after she showed off her welding prowess with a presentation while dawning her full welding gear before dazzling the crowd in her gorgeous dress and then answering her final question about her proposed Children’s Vegetable Growing Station for next year’s 2024 fair. Not only was she crowned Queen, but she also took home the scholarship award for the interview portion of the pageant.


“My fair proposal is a children’s vegetable growing station, where kids will learn the importance of agriculture in a fun way,” said Jensen told the audience.

Jensen was stunned when she was named Miss California Mid-State Fair, and you could feel the emotion running off of her.

“It feels amazing,” she said. “I am so blessed to have a wonderful group of girls, and it was such a wonderful journey. I’m so excited this year.” 

She added that anyone looking to be part of the pageant in the future should get out of their comfort zones because competing wasn’t in hers, but she’s so excited she decided to take a chance on new things.

First runner-up was 18-year-old Jenna Wilshusen of Paso Robles. Jenna was also the 2022 Pioneer Day Belle, and she wowed the crowd with a musical theater monologue where she channeled her inner Roxie Hart from “Chicago.”

“It feels amazing. It’s such an honor,” Wilshusen said of being crowned as part of the 2023 court. “All the hard work that I’ve put in and everyone else … I feel so proud right now. I just can’t wait to spend the next few days with Natalie and Kerrigan. It’s going to be so much fun.”

The Talent Scholarship winner and second runner-up was Natalie Boyd from Paso Robles. Boyd, 17, is not a stranger to the pageant stage and performed a dance routine to Morgan Wallen’s “More Than My Hometown.”  

“I grew up with the pageant. I danced at it, and just to be the role model that I always looked up to feels so fulfilling. I’m so excited to spend the next year with these two ladies,” said Boyd. “I’m so excited. I love my community. I love Paso, and I can’t wait to just see everyone. I love being a princess so far.”

Named Miss Congeniality was 17-year-old Shirley Horzen of San Luis Obispo.

“It’s really, I feel like I’m going to cry, but it’s really nice to know that all the girls voted on it, and they all chose me,” she said. “It’s a nice community effort, so I really appreciate it.”

Stevens and Pageant Director Patti Lucas were both honored for being a part of the Miss CMSF Pagent for 20 years during the evening’s festivities. And additional entertainment was provided by Artistry in Motion before 2022 Queen Brooke Smith took her final walk on stage before Jensen officially took her title.

Congratulations to this year’s Miss California Mid-State Fair Queen and her Princesses.

Feature Image: Princess Natalie Boyd, Queen Kerrigan Jensen, and Princess Jenna Wilshusen are shown after being crowned at the Miss California Mid-State Fair Pageant. Photo by Brittany App.

Photos by Becca Sligh