By Pete Soyer
A new queen will be crowned at the Great Northern Fair this year.
The Miss Great Northern Stampede queen will be announced after contestants compete in a pageant. Eryn Darlington, the current queen, said she will be there to help judge portions of the pageant.
"I will help judge the essays and perhaps the horsemanship, and I'm probably going to be giving the current-event questions," she said.
Darlington will be very active in the pageant, but she said she will have lots of help.
Darlington, who was crowned at last year's Great Northern Fair, said the best part of being Miss Great Northern Stampede is meeting new people. She said she got to work with Miss Montana and travel all over Montana.
"I'd never been farther east than Harlem so going to Glasgow was different for me. The chance to see Montana and meet new people" were the best parts of being queen she said.
Darlington, 18, graduated from Big Sandy High School and will be attending Washington State University in Pullman to study animal science in the fall. After she gets used to college, she said she might try for Miss Montana.
A benefit of being the queen is having the experience on your resume if you decide to compete in other pageants, she said.
Mike Spencer, manager of the Great Northern Fair, said he is looking for girls to compete in this year's pageant. The deadline for entering the pageant is Tuesday. The pageant begins on Wednesday.
Darlington said she has two or three girls who are interested in competing this year and she is hoping for more.
"Ten would be nice, but that's even stretching it. If I had five that would be great," she said.
This is only the third pageant in Havre, Spencer said.
Darlington's advice for entrants is to be nice to everyone you work with. "Always be friendly with the people you are working with. You get more things accomplished when you are friendly."
The winner of this pageant will compete at the Miss Rodeo Montana pageant in Great Falls Jan. 9-13.
Contestants must be between ages 18 and 23 and must be a legal resident of Montana. Darlington said contestants have to comply with about five pages of rules and regulations to compete and to reign as the Miss Great Northern Stampede queen.
The pageant will take place in the Hill County Fairgrounds arena or in the Bigger Better Barn, beginning 3 p.m. Wednesday.
For more information on becoming a contestant, contact Spencer at 265-7121.