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Fairest of the Fairs



The 2019 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs, who was selected Wednesday evening at the annual Wisconsin Association of Fairs Convention in Wisconsin Dells. A field of 42 talented young women, the highest number in the history of the competition, vied for this coveted position, and Meghan Buechel, representing the Brown County Fair, took home the Fairest of the Fairs title.

The Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs program was created 53 years ago to select an ambassador for the Wisconsin Association of Fairs, which represents 75 Wisconsin county, district and state fairs.

Each year, the Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs travels throughout the state promoting the educational, agricultural, social, cultural and commercial opportunities available at Wisconsin’s great fairs. It is a position of responsibility to the citizens of our great state, and the winner must possess excellent communication skills as well as organization, professionalism and a passion for the fair industry.

Buechel will serve a one-year term, and her responsibilities include appearances at fairs and events throughout the state, working with media and promoting the importance of Wisconsin’s fair and agriculture industries.

In addition, she will serve as an ambassador of the 2019 Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, which will take place August 1 - 11. This includes greeting fairgoers and special guests, performing as the master of ceremonies for several events during State Fair, participating in various contests and representing State Fair during select media appearances.

The daughter of Bill and Jennifer Buechel of De Pere, Wis.,Buechel currently studies microbiology at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, with plans to attend graduate school and become an occupational therapist. She currently works in the Microbiology Prep Room at the University as a lab assistant and at Gundersen Heath System as a rehabilitation technician. Buechel has volunteered as a physical activity mentor for persons with disabilities and special needs children. She has exhibited 13 different project types throughout her years in 4-H and FFA, including both sheep and swine.

“We look forward to welcoming the Fairest of the Fairs to the Wisconsin State Fair staff each year,” stated Kathleen O’Leary, CEO of Wisconsin State Fair Park. “Meghan demonstrated a true passion for the fair and agriculture industry and rose to the top in a year when we had a record number of young women competing for the honor and responsibility of being Fairest of the Fairs. Congratulations to Meghan and to all of the 2019 contestants.”

Sharla Boehlke, 20, representing the Ozaukee County Fair, was named first runner-up. She is the daughter of Royal and Linda Boehlke of Random Lake, Wis. and is a currently studying nutritional sciences – dietetics at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Boehlke works at Cedar Valley Cheese Store, sells cheese at the Dane County Farmer’s Market for Capri Cheese and acts as an assistant for the Wisconsin 4-H International Program.

Molly McIlquaham, 21, representing the Northern Wisconsin State Fair, was named second runner-up. She is the daughter of Cara Schueller of Chippewa Falls, Wis. and is a senior at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls pursuing a degree in soil science.

Morgan Rynish, 22, representing the Outagamie County Fair, was named third runner-up. She is the daughter of Dan and Kim Rynish of Pulaski, Wis. and is a senior at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire pursuing a degree in elementary education.

Emily Franke, 19, representing the Fond du Lac County Fair, was named fourth runner-up. She is the daughter of Scott and Laura Franke of Oakfield, Wis. and is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin – Madison studying dairy science.

Abigail Bralick, 19, representing the Waukesha County Fair, received the Tim Heffernon Congeniality award. She is the daughter of Michael and Kelly Kirk-Bralick of Waukesha, Wis. and is pursuing a degree in therapeutic recreation at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

Buechel was selected from a field of incredibly talented young women, and replaces the 2018 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs, Isabella Haen from the Kewaunee County Fair. The Fairest of the Fairs is chosen by a panel of three judges representing the fair, communications and agriculture industries. This year’s judges were Stacie Christel, Jo Reynolds and Susan Zblewski.

Originally from Manitowoc, Wis., Christel is currently the director of sales and marketing at Aloft Hotel – Green Bay and serves on several boards and associations in the greater Green Bay area. She is serving a second term as president of the Ashwaubenon Business Association and was awarded the 2015 Ashwaubenon Business Person of the Year.

Reynolds has been the manager for the Warren County Fair in Indianola, Iowa for the past 20 years. She also owns and operates a crop insurance agency and manages a 23-head beef cow herd with her husband. Reynolds has served in multiple director and president positions within the Iowa Association of Fairs and the International Association of Fairs and Expositions.

Zblewski, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, has worked with UMR/United Healthcare for 27 years and currently serves as operations manager. While growing up on a dairy farm in Birnamwood, Wis., she was involved in 4-H and FFA and continues to be the co-general leader for the Plover Valley 4-H club.

Individuals interested in competing in future Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs contests may contact their county or district fair board for more information or visit WiFairs.com.

The 2019 Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, will take place Thursday, Aug. 1 – Sunday, Aug. 11.
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