POINT PLEASANT – For the past five years, one young lady from the county was chosen to represent the Mason County Convention & Visitors Bureau, but this year the pageant saw a change of pace and two young ladies were crowned.
Kenlee Bonecutter, 17, daughter of Danny and Tonya Bonecutter of Gallipolis Ferry was recently crowned as the 2019 Miss Mason County Tourism Queen. Bonecutter will be graduating from Point Pleasant High School this year and has plans to attend Marshall University in the fall to pursue a degree in physical therapy.
Bonecutter is active in her school and community. She is a member of the Black Knight Marching Band, plays multiple varsity sports, and is a 10-year member of Mason County 4-H. She also helps with her church’s Youth Ministry.
In her essay, which is 50 percent of the competition, Bonecutter described that she is proud of her accomplishments, but mostly proud of her roots.
“Mason County will forever hold a special place in my heart,” she said. “It would be an honor to represent my home county’s quirky attractions. This county and state is underappreciated and I would love to educate visitors about this special place I get to call home.”
Bonecutter will have that opportunity now as she was chosen from a field of six other contestants, all who wrote essays and went through an interview process with former titleholders.
But she is not the only Queen that was crowned during Sunday’s reception held at the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Point Pleasant.
Ella Grant, 5, was chosen as the first Little Miss Mason County Tourism Queen. The daughter of Jeremy and Danielle Grant of Southside talked with judges about how much she enjoys the outdoors and living on her farm.
Grant attends Buffalo Elementary School and is in the pre-k. She wants to become a pediatrician when she grows up. Grant takes dance at Mountain Dance, gymnastics at Southern Ohio Gymnastics Academy, and is a member of Girl Scouts. She also volunteers with programs such as the Great Kanawha River Cleanup, Caroling Queens, and Angel Tree Project.
Grant and Bonecutter will make their first official appearance at the Siege of Fort Randolph on Saturday, May 18.
Both ladies were crowned by the 2018 Tourism Queen Kaylee Hartley who had what pageant organizers described as a tremendous year representing tourism. Hartley was active on social media, posting videos each month to drum up interest for local events. She thanked those in attendance for being part of her year.
Hartley received a $500 scholarship from Delyssa Edwards, pageant director, who spoke to the crowd about why she holds the contest.
“I am very passionate about local development and economic growth, as well as tourism. I really want to see our youth get involved in what we have to offer those living in and outside of the area,” Edwards said. “I started this contest as a way to educate the younger generation and to help promote tourism.”
To date, Edwards has awarded $2,500 to the Tourism titleholders. Those ladies were also in attendance during the event. They are Emily Hussell, 2014; Amanda (Baker) Fellure, 2015; Destiny Brown, 2016; Leslie Meade, 2017; and Kaylee Hartley, 2018.
Also on hand to welcome the new Tourism Queens were Mayor Brian Billings, Tourism Committee Member Ed Cromley, and other local titleholders.
(Editor’s note: Information for this article submitted by Delyssa Edwards.)