By Nick Rogers
Audrey Campbell was shooting for a top 10 finish at the 60th Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant in January. More than 80 young women vied for the crown.
Hearing her name announced as the winner was “a total holy cow moment.”
“If my dress would have allowed me to fall to my knees, I would have,” said Campbell, a Veedersburg native who won the competition as Miss Fountain County. “But even just standing alongside so many amazing, accomplished women was a great experience. I don’t even really call it a pageant anymore. It’s like a job interview.”
That summer job is a busy one, covering 6,500 miles and 45 Indiana counties to promote the 2018 Indiana State Fair (Aug. 3-17 in Indianapolis) at events and 4-H fairs.
Wherever she goes, Campbell, who grew up on Tipmont REMC lines, pays forward the inspiration she gained from past Fountain County Fair queens. As a 10-year Indiana 4-H’er, she loves to see youth presenting animals or projects just as she once did for pigs, goats, food, floriculture, clothing, cakes and rocketry.
“I tell them it’s good to get outside of their bubble or their comfort zone, to grow in their knowledge, and continue to apply that throughout their life,” Campbell said.
Now a college sophomore, Campbell will begin classes this fall at St. Elizabeth School of Nursing in Lafayette — the next step on a career path she has carved since fifth grade.
“That year, I learned I was born about a month early and in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). I started researching what nurses do and that fueled my drive to make this a career,” she said. Campbell plans to obtain a master’s degree and become a nurse practitioner.
At roughly the halfway mark of her current 45-county caravan, Campbell is hard-pressed to pick one favorite experience from her travels.
“Everything I do is cool because everything comes with this great job,” she said.
Nick Rogers is a communications manager for Purdue Agriculture.