The other six contestants were featured in last week’s paper

NORTH COUNTY — Welcome back to part two of meeting this year’s Miss California Mid-State Fair contestants who will be opening the fair on Wednesday, July 17, in the 54th Miss California Mid-State Fair Pageant. A fair favorite, the pageant will happen on the Frontier Stage at 6 p.m.

All 11 contestants will participate in an interview asking what they would change or add to make the fair a better experience, their talent, evening gown, and a final question regarding their fair proposal.

This year, scholarship amounts have expanded. The crowned queen will receive $2,500, while first runner-up will receive $1,000, and second runner-up will receive $500. In addition, Miss Congeniality will receive $250, and the winners of the interview and talent sections will receive $100.

Paso Robles Press/Atascadero News asked this year’s contestants a few questions. Here are their answers:

Logan Rutherford, 21

School graduated from/headed to next: I graduated from Cal Poly SLO last month with a Bachelor’s of Animal Science and am now actively applying to veterinary schools with hopes to become a large livestock vet in the future. 

Talent in the pageant: I chose to use part of a sport and a passion I have been involved with my entire life, sprint car racing. I will be demonstrating and talking through some important aspects of safety used for the drivers and crew. 

Favorite thing about the fair: Being that I own and run a show pig breeding business, 805 Swine, one part of the fair that I enjoy is watching the children interact with the animals I’ve bred and raised, seeing how they’ve grown together over time. There are many aspects of the fair that I love which makes it hard to choose one thing — the fair itself is my favorite time of year.

Movie you could watch over and over: “Talladega Nights” 

Ashlee Holt, 18

School graduated from/headed to next: I will be a sophomore at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Talent in the pageant: My talent is a short presentation on three key points to follow for water safety.

Favorite thing about the fair: My favorite thing about the fair has always been the livestock. I grew up raising   livestock and showing at the fair for many years.

Movie you could watch over and over: A movie I could watch over and over would be “The Proposal.” 

Emily Joy “EJ” McNeal, 17

School graduated from/headed to next: In the fall, I will be a senior at Paso Robles High School.

Talent in the pageant: My talent for the pageant is dancing. I choreographed my own lyrical/contemporary piece to the song “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle. 

Favorite thing about the fair: My favorite thing about the fair is the hometown atmosphere. I enjoy watching my friends show their livestock and seeing all their hard work pay off. I also love to look at home arts, especially the floral arrangements that I enter into the fair. When I was younger, I loved to dance on the Headliner stage with Class Act Dance, even though the stage was so hot. I also love to go to the concerts. Last year, I went to see Lauren Daigle perform on the Chumash Grandstand Arena. That was the best concert I have been to so far. 

Movie you could watch over and over: “Princess and The Frog,” mostly because I identify with Princess Tiana and her dedication and perseverance through all of the trials and tribulations to achieve her goals. 

Chelsea Hoyt, 17

School graduated from/headed to next: I will be a senior at Paso Robles High School in the fall. 

Talent in the pageant: I am designing a floral arrangement for the pageant.

Favorite thing about the fair: My favorite thing about the fair is the large variety of food options you have. There are also some foods that are very well known, like the cinnamon rolls or funnel cakes, which are a must to get.

Movie you could watch over and over: One of my all time favorite movies is definitely “Hannah Montana: The Movie.” I can rewatch it over and over again.

Bailey Van Huss, 19

School graduated from/headed to next: I graduated from Templeton High School in 2023 and will be attending my sophomore year at Cuesta College in the fall.

Talent in the pageant: Modern-day gold prospecting.

Favorite thing about the fair: The livestock is my favorite part.

Movie you could watch over and over: “The Avengers”

Good luck out there, ladies.

Featured Image: This year’s Miss California Mid-State Fair Pageant contests are (from left) Chelsea Hoyt, Hailey Terrell, Bailey Van Huss, Ashlee Holt, Neelan Adams, Samatha Hoffman, Logan Rutherford, Megan Pagnini, Emily McNeal, Kiana Keogh, and Venessa Pinedo. Photo provided by the Miss California Mid-State Fair Pageant.