POINT PLEASANT — A local pageant queen recently ranked in the top 15 at the West Virginia Association of Fair and Festivals (WVAFF) Pageant held in Charleston this past weekend.
Competing for the second year in a row in the WVAFF pageant, the reigning 2018 Miss Battle Days Emma Rice, daughter of Olin and Jonna Rice of Point Pleasant, was ranked in the top 15.
“My main goal going into this competition was to represent this community and make them proud, I sincerely hope I have done just that. I feel very grateful for this honor, making this group for the second year in a row is so incredible and humbling,” said Rice. “I initially competed in these as a way to represent my hometown of Point Pleasant at the state level. I have since continued competing because the weekend at the convention brought me so many friends, connections, and memories in my first year, that I knew I wanted to come back and grow.”
Rice was accompanied by her Pageant Director Brandy Barkey Sweeney, as well as her friends and family members.
”I’m so unbelievably proud of Emma,” said Sweeney. “She is absolutely a stunning young lady, but she is so much more. She is highly intelligent and articulate, so it was no surprise to hear her name called as one of the top contestants. She is a hard worker and very goal orientated, so I was very confident she would be among the top contestants. I’ve known her for so long and I was actually her soccer coach when she was in elementary school, so I’ve loved watching her grow into the incredible young lady she is today. I’m eager to see what great things she will accomplish in the future.”
Rice embraced the world of pageantry at the young age of five, winning her first title as Little Miss Mason County in 2005, representing the Mason County Fair. She competed in pageants off and on until age 14 and then increased her involvement within the pageant world.
She competed for various titles representing the Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta, the Mason County Fair, Mason County 4-H, and Point Pleasant Battle Days. She was crowned as River Princess in 2011, Teen Queen in 2014, and Queen in 2o17 for the Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta and Junior Miss Battle Days in 2009 and Miss Battle Days in 2018 for the Battle Days Festival.
“Upon entering my first pageant, it was primarily something fun to do and to get involved in my community,” said Rice. “I have since kept doing pageants as I feel that they are more than meets the eye. In my honest opinion, pageantry has taught me very many valuable life lessons that I plan to use in my future career, these include public speaking, personal interview skills, confidence, and finding a voice to be passionate about.”
Rice is currently attending the West Virginia University School of Dentistry’s Dental Hygiene Program where she is working to obtain her Bachelor’s of Science in dental hygiene with a minor in communication studies.
“I am so thankful to be a part of the West Virginia Association of Fairs & Festivals,” said Rice. “I hope that being named in the top 15 this past weekend will promote the Battle Days Festival and increase tourism throughout Point Pleasant and Mason County. Furthermore, my other hope is that we, as a community, continue to support our local fairs and festivals because they are the foundation for so many of our youth.“
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.