COLUMBUS — Reliable seems a fitting word for Abigail Hissong to define.
The 2017 Miami County Fair Queen competed Thursday in the 2018 Ohio Fairs’ Managers Queen contest — along with 77 other queens from county and independent fairs around the state — and was eventually named the second runner-up.
Following the first round, the Milton-Union High School senior made the cut when the field was narrowed to 16 contestants. Hissong then had to draw a word, define it, use it in a sentence and relate the word to her personal life.
Hissong, the daughter of Ty and Candi Hissong, attributed the reliability in her life to her parents, who continue to support her throughout her endeavors, including being the county fair queen.
It must be a family trait, because fair board members said reliable also defines the young woman that Abby has become.
“Even when she had prior commitments, such as school activities during fair week, she always came into the fair office to let us know she would be off the grounds. She was so reliable, it’s just perfect that she drew a word that describes her so well,” said fair manager and secretary Jill Wright. “She was there to walk the visiting kings and queens around, and was at the shows when she was needed. Reliable is definitely fitting.”
Fair board president Mike Jess agreed.
“She has impressed us all,” said Jess, who said her ranking in the queen’s contest is one for the record books. “She has represented us so well, we appreciate the job she has done as our fair queen.”
After each of the 16 contestants defined a word, the field again was narrowed to five Thursday evening — with Hissong named the first contestant to remain in the competition.
On Saturday morning during the final reveal, Hissong was named second runner-up at the state event, something no other Miami County Fair queen has accomplished in recent history.
“I just feel so honored, I never thought I would make it this far, especially with all the other competition and how great all the other girls are,” said Hissong, who has secured a full scholarship to Wilmington College to study Agronomy.
Being the county fair queen is something Abby said she has wanted since she was 4 years old, so being able to participate at the state level far exceeded her goals. Making new friendships is something that she said also made the experience memorable.
“I started traveling to other fairs right after ours ended and meeting new people, and met one of my best friends, Taylor from Ashland County. So, it was great to see her and other queens again.”
Hissong, a member of the Just 4 Fun 4-H Club, exhibits market goats and crossbred breeding does, as well as items in the shop and crop building at the Miami County Fair.
She said she encourages others considering the king and queen competition at the county fair to give it a try.
“It’s definitely a worthwhile experience,” the National Honor Society member said. “If nothing else, it’s good job interview practice. It’s an incredible experience and it really opens your eyes to all the possibilities in everything that you can do.”