IRON RIVER—With her reign as Miss Iron County coming to a close, Alex Nelson is sending a shout-out to her potential successors.
“Don’t be intimidated by the whole process. It’s not that bad. It’s fun, I’m glad I did it.”
As of June 13, no one has applied to be a contestant for this year’s queen competition, which is scheduled to be held on Thursday, Aug. 28 as part of the Iron County Fair. The Fair Association is seeking applicants for Miss Iron County 2014-15 and the reigning queen is doing her part.
To apply, contestants must be at least 15 years old by Aug. 1 and be a resident of Iron County at least six months prior to entering the contest. Contestants are required to present a three-minute speech on Iron County during the competition.
All entrants must also display a talent such as singing, dancing or in Nelson’s case, shooting sports. Or the contestant can present an essay at least three minutes in length.
The queen is required to represent Iron County at various community events throughout the year. The entry deadline is June 30.
Those requirements, among other things, are what scare some girls off, Nelson said.
“That and the kids are just like, ‘I’m nothing like what they’re looking for. I’m not going to win, there’s so many people better than me.’ Or some of them are like, ‘Oh, I’m not enough of a girly-girl.’ You have to look at yourself that you’re not worse than anybody else, that no one’s better than you.”
“They don’t judge on looks, they judge more on how you present yourself.”
The winner receives a $500 scholarship to be used at her discretion, as well as a tiara and sash. But the queen also gains intangible benefits, Nelson said.
The 2014 graduate of West Iron County High School said she was terribly shy as a youngster and would barely talk to anybody. Now, Nelson presents herself as a confident, personable young lady who is comfortable around people from all walks of life.
“Being queen gave me more confidence,” she said. “I can go around and talk to random strangers. You start meeting people and they pull you out of that. There are great opportunities around the community to meet new people.”
Nelson describes just such an experience when she met young girls at library functions.
“Sometimes those little kids just stare at the tiara. They love it. And I’m like, ‘Do you want to wear it?’ And they get so excited.”
Nelson, the daughter of Carrie and John Nelson of Bates, first became interested in being Miss Iron County after her cousin, Carla DeVore, ran a few years back. Nelson entered the competition as a 15-year-old for the first time in 2012 and said she was terrified.
Despite her nerves, Nelson took runner-up that year and followed that by winning the crown last summer.
“The second time I ran, I was just like, ‘I’ve done this before, it’s easy.’”
As her reign nears completion, Nelson wants more girls to enter the contest before she heads off to Oakland University to begin studies in pre-med.
“Like the posters say, it’s $500, and it’s $500 to hang out with people that are awesome.”
Those interested in competing can call Ruth Lopez at 265-5422, Dorothy Javoroski at 265-4486 or Carrie Nelson at 284-0095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.