The first 12 hours of her reign were a whirlwind and set the tone for the rest of the week for the Johnson County 4-H and Agricultural Fair queen.
Samantha Morris went to bed at 1 a.m. Monday and woke up at 5:30 a.m. to feed her livestock.
A couple of hours later, she had an interview about her new title. Between 8 and 9 a.m., wearing a black sundress, sash and crown, she weighed in her steer and swine.
At the indoor arena, she ate breakfast while being briefed on how the competitions of the day would go.
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She spent the next eight hours handing out ribbons to 4-H’ers who were showing goats.
Fair queens are known as the face of the fair. She or a member of her court is at every organized event at the fair.
The job started about 9 p.m. Sunday when she was crowned.
Morris and her court posed for photos seconds after she was crowned. After she hugged family and friends, she climbed into a golf cart to take a victory tour of the fairgrounds.
“It was a lot of smiles and cameras,” Morris said.
Around midnight, her mother, Lori Morris, was at Walmart, buying her two pairs of white sneakers, which will be an integral part of her royal wardrobe for practical reasons, since open-toed shoes could be unsafe in livestock barns.
For the week of the fair, none of Samantha Morris’ time will be her own. Her schedule was laid out before she was crowned.
Even walking around the midway at night will be a scheduled royal appearance, as she greets fairgoers and entertains the questions of little girls. Those walks are penciled in to her tight schedule.
Between 6 and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday are when fairgoers will get the chance to glimpse the queen on the midway. Little girls will ask to try on her crown.
On late nights, the queen and her court will camp on the fairgrounds.
“I plan on living at the fair and napping at home at night,” Morris said.
Today she will spend much of her time in the indoor arena. Giving out ribbons at livestock shows is a top priority, according to Valli Shattuck, superintendent of the queen contest.
Later in the week, Morris will be at the other events, such as horseshoe pitching, concerts and the demolition derby.
No matter what, she must be gracious and polite, Shattuck said.
“If she is in a hurry to get where she is going and a kid stops her and wants a picture, she needs to stop and take the picture,” she said.
Part of the queen’s first morning was spent preparing her look for the week. About a dozen dresses were grabbed from her closet and thrown into her Jeep on the way out of the door. Each dress had to be approved by Shattuck.
“My whole closet is in the back of my Jeep,” Morris said.
The queen and her court must wear makeup at all times and wear knee-length dresses with straps that are at least three fingers wide. Hairdos are checked, too.
“They will be looked at by many and admired by little girls,” Shattuck said.
Morris said she doesn’t mind, since encouraging and helping 4-H’ers is why she wanted to become the fair queen.
For years her family would unload their animals the Sunday morning of the fair. As a little girl, Morris would run to the indoor arena to see how it was decorated and readied for the queen pageant that night.
She started showing livestock as a 7-year-old. A borrowed heifer she was showing tried to eat the decorations and limbs on a Christmas tree in the show ring in Indianapolis. Her toes were stomped on twice.
“I looked at my dad and said that was kind of fun,” Morris said.
The 10-year 4-H member has shown cattle, pigs and sheep at the fair and was knocked down and stepped on during a fair show by a cow when she was about 10.
Being queen means she will sacrifice the intense care of her animals at the fairgrounds. Morris will still show her animals, but her father and brothers will care for them most of the day in a huge change from her normal routine.
“Leading up to the fair, she would spend seven or eight hours in the barn,” said Bruce Morris, her father.
While clutching a grand champion ribbon she was about to award at the fair Monday, Samantha Morris remembered her decision about which gown she would wear for the fair queen pageant.
She decided on a purple sequined gown, after her mother tried to talk her into wearing a red dress.
“I said, ‘No Mom, I am getting purple. Those are grand champion colors,’” Morris said.
Name: Samantha Morris
Title: Johnson County 4-H and Agriculture Fair queen
Parents: Bruce and Lori Morris
School: Recent graduate of Indian Creek High School; will attend Purdue University in the fall