COLUMBIA CITY — Unlike many past Miss Whitley County recipients, Mackie Sheets knows just what to expect in the coming year.
Sheets was named the 2018 Miss Whitley County at Monday night’s program — a deja vu for many in attendance, who recall her older sister, Kaitlyn, earning the title in 2016.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” said the sisters’ mom, Jennifer Krider. “I’m super proud of them.”
Sheets, along with 16 other contestants, competed for the title of Miss Whitley County Monday at First Church of God in Columbia City.
Earning first runner-up was Madison Schroeder, second runner-up was Hannah Behm, third runner-up was Sydney Korte and fourth runner-up was Dayna Kyler. The winner of the Miss Congeniality award was Bridget Hinen and Elizabeth Johnson won the People’s Choice award.
Sheets will soon begin her tour as Miss Whitley County, starting first with a long week at the Whitley County 4-H Fair, which begins Friday. Sheets was a 10-year 4-H member, participating in dairy steer, feeder calf, swine and sewing. She was named last year’s Miss Indiana State Fair Dairy Steer Queen — following in her sister’s footsteps once again, as Kaitlyn was queen in 2016.
“They’re so supportive and encouraging of each other,” Krider said. “Mackie has always looked up to Kaitlyn so much.”
Krider is now a second-time mom of a Miss Whitley County, and knows what to expect at the fair next week and in the year ahead.
“It’s a whirlwind of a year even more-so for the girls, I’m just glad they let me come along for the ride,” Krider said.
Sheets tried on 27 dresses before finding just the right one — with her older sister alongside her.
“We practiced interview questions all the time,” Kaitlyn Sheets said.
The Sheets sisters were inspired by their aunt Sonia Sheets Pettigrew, who was Miss Whitley County in 1990.
“I think it’s a nice little advantage to know the ropes already,” Mackie Sheets said.
Sheets will be a sophomore at Ball State University this fall and is involved in several student organizations at the university. She was a 2017 graduate of Columbia City High School and was also a cheerleader, along with her 10 years in Whitley County 4-H.
The 2017 Miss Whitley County, Jenna Pittenger, bid farewell to her reign as queen with a thank-you speech and recap of her past year.
“I am fortunate and blessed to represent our county,” Pittenger said.
Pittenger placed in the Top 10 at the Miss Indiana State Fair program in February.
“I have so many memories as queen that I will forever cherish. She named a few, including singing the National Anthem at the demolition derby at the fair, riding with Mackie Sheets in the tractor pull, washing pigs, emceeing the Turtle Days and Little Miss Whitley County pageants, and sneaking “lots” of free ice cream from the concession stands at the fair.
She offered advice to the incoming queen:
“Be your own person and never change who you are. Enjoy your year to the whole capacity, it flies by quickly.”
The 17 contestants were: Peyton Miller, Madalyn Crawford, Bailee Yount, Madison Schroeder, Mackie Sheets, Christen Wheeler, Bridget Hinen, Dayna Kyler, Elizabeth Johnson, Lindsey Hoskins, Novella Drudge, Rozlyn Bishop, Taylor Duncan, Sydney Korte, Elizabeth Russell, Megan Lemke and Hannah Behm.
The judges were: Julie Echard, of Wabash County; Abby Hobbs, of Tipton; and Sharon Edwards, of Elkhart County.