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Miss Berkeley County Youth Fair is crowned

Jennifer Custer of Gerrardstown, W.Va., beat out 13 other contestants to win the honor.

Jennifer Custer of Gerrardstown, W.Va., beat out 13 other contestants to win the honor.

August 06, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Shortly after she was named Miss Berkeley County Youth Fair 2002 Monday night, Jennifer Custer said she was determined to stay cool.

"I just tried to be relaxed and laid-back, just tried to have fun," she said. "That's what it's all about."

Still, after beating 13 other contestants, Custer, 19, of Gerrardstown, W.Va., was thrilled.

"I was surprised," she said. "It was very competitive."

A panel of judges narrowed the field of 14 contestants, representing eight 4-H clubs, to five finalists.

Kara Frye from the Valley Star 4-H Club finished second, followed by Jenna Marker of the New Seekers 4-H Club.

Amanda Shanholtz, also of the Valley Star 4-H Club, was fourth, and Brittany Ray of the Sulphur Springs Superstars 4-H Club was fifth.

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Shannon Markley, Miss Berkeley County Youth Fair 2001, crowned Custer.

Shanholtz received the Miss Congeniality Award, and Frye received the Evelyn Talbott Community Service Award.

At the start of the pageant, the contestants walked across the stage, smiling at the judges, as master of ceremonies Michael T. Myers read aloud information about them - their 4-H accomplishments, families, interests and memberships.

Singer Chris Chambers of Romney, W.Va., performed during two breaks.

When the pool of 14 was narrowed to five, the finalists were sent to a "soundproof trailer" off the stage. One by one, they were called out of the trailer and back to the stage to answer a question.

The question was how the theme of this year's Berkeley County Youth Fair - "Hats Off to the USA" - was special to them as American citizens.

Custer, the daughter of Linda and Richard Custer Jr., said afterward that she had guessed the question before it was asked.

Custer, a member of the Blue Ridge Pioneers 4-H Club, has belonged to 4-H for 11 years. This year, she exhibited a health project called "Discovering Myself."

This was her third time competing in the pageant.

Custer is entering her sophomore year at West Virginia University, where she is majoring in textiles and apparel merchandising.

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