While many young girls only dream about being a real queen
for a day, Beth Struzynski was queen for a week at the Johnson
Johnson County Fair Queen Beth Struzynski gets a hug
from the 2003 queen Marra Burr after she was crowned
Monday night at the fair. Press-Citizen/Matthew
The fair queen crown became hers Monday night, and she
proudly wore it throughout the week while handing out
ribbons to 4-Hers and walking the grounds shaking hands.
"I will never forget it," the 16-year-old said. "It has
been so much fun. I've gone to as many shows as I can,
and I have had so many people just come up to me and say
Though she will go on to compete in the Iowa State Fair
Queen Pageant Aug. 14, she said the event will not be
as magical to her as being crowned queen of Johnson County.
"This is my county fair," she said Thursday after helping
with the bucket bottle calf competition. "I am kind of
sad it is ending."
What makes becoming queen especially sweet to Struzynski
is the fact that she was truly surprised she won.
School: Junior at Clear Creek Amana
4-H group: Cosgrove Hustlers.
Activities: 4-H, vice president of
her class, football cheerleader, member of student
council and National Honor Society, active in drama
and in the student assistance program.
Hobbies: Sewing, cooking, shopping
and, thanks to her two older brothers, she likes
fishing and hunting.
Future plans: To attend the University
of Iowa to be a teacher.
What's next: Struzynski will compete
in the Iowa State Fair Queen Pageant at 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 14 at the Bill Riley Stage in Des Moines.
Most of the other eight contestants will be seniors this
fall or just graduated, while she will be starting her
junior year at Clear Creek Amana High School. And many
of the other contestants were trying for a second or third
time, while this was her first.
"Going in, I just wanted to get the experience of it
and meet some girls," Struzynski said. "It was a complete
For those in her 4-H club, Cosgrove Hustlers, it didn't
come as a surprise at all.
"She truly deserves it," leader Linda Reynolds said.
"She is a very outgoing, and a positive uplifting person."
Judge Joan Vondracek agreed, adding that Struzynski had
all the qualities they were asked to look for.
In her two years of being a judge, this was the hardest
contest to call because of the talent of all the girls,
Yet, Struzynski's energy stood out among the others,
Vondracek said, adding that she was impressed by how the
teen kept her poise and smile throughout the competition,
which lasted more than an hour.
Fair queen Beth Struzynski is congratulated by fellow
candidate Amanda Seelman after they left the stage
Monday night. Press-Citizen/Matthew Holst
Judging was based on leadership, citizenship, personality,
attitude, poise and appearance.
Contestants need to be active 4-H or FFA members. In
addition to Vondracek, Dan Swick and 2003 Iowa State Fair
Queen Jessie Hutcheson judged the contest.
"She is just a beautiful girl," Hutcheson said of her
decision to crown Struzynski.
The judges chose Sarah Nightingale of Iowa City as princess.
Being royalty for a week with Struzynski was a great
experience, Nightingale said.
"It was so much fun," she said. "Beth is a sweetheart.
She is the nicest girl, and she was so nice to me this
week because I was princess, I was hoping to have some
duties, and she let me help her out."
Struzynski has been in 4-H for six years, and has completed
many clothing and working exhibits. You can catch her
latest - a headband demonstration - at the state fair.
Beth Struzynski awaits the announcement of the winner
during the queen contest Monday.