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Erin Perkins brought the county fair pageant crown back to the family.
The 16-year-old was crowned Miss Hardin County Fair on Monday, the first night of events for the fair. Perkins, a rising junior at Central Hardin High School, has had past success in the fair’s pageants, as has her sister, Alex.
Perkins won Miss Teen Hardin County last year and was named Miss Pre-Teen Hardin County in 2008. Her sister has long been involved in pageants, and Alex Perkins was crowned Miss Hardin County Fair in 2009.
“She was always doing them and I wanted to try it, and I liked it,” Erin said.
She didn’t return to pageants after Miss Pre-Teen until last year, which was the last year she could compete for Miss Teen.
“I don’t know, I just wanted to try it, I wanted to start doing them again,” she said.
Alex was with Erin every step of the way, helping her choose a dress and swimsuit and practice her interview skills.
“She helps me with my walk, she helps me with everything,” she said.
Her assistance continued through the night of the event.
“She was backstage with me the whole time,” she said. Alex offered words of encouragement to Erin, who struggled to stay calm.
“I was so nervous,” she said. “I was nervous the whole time. My stomach was in a knot.”
Waiting to go on stage is the most difficult part, she said. She also was one of the youngest contestants.
“That was a little intimidating,” she said.
After making it into the top eight and hearing the names of second runner-up Madelyn Carek and first runner-up Alysha Marie Benitez-White called, Perkins didn’t expect to be wearing a crown at the end of the night.
“But then they called my name and I was thrilled,” she said. Her sister felt the same.
“I think she was just as excited as I was,” she said. “I saw her tearing up.”
Perkins will go on to compete in Miss Kentucky County Fair in January and plans to participate in other pageants next year.
Kelly Cantrall be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.