Miss Indiana State Fair 2013 Mariah Huff helps promote the “Year of the Popcorn,” which will be celebrated at the Indiana State Fair, Aug. 2-18.
Miss Indiana State Fair 2013 Mariah Huff helps promote the “Year of the Popcorn,” which will be celebrated at the Indiana State Fair, Aug. 2-18.

INDIANAPOLIS — Although she never entered the Jackson County Fair Queen Pageant while she was a 4-H member, when Mariah Huff finally decided to run the last year she was eligible, the unexpected happened.

Huff was not only named Miss Jackson County 2012, but she went on to become Miss Indiana State Fair 2013, which also made her the first representative from Jackson County to ever earn that title.

“I always made excuses in the past why not to run,” she said, adding that her agriculture teacher is the one who encouraged her to compete and that being busy from having too many 4-H projects wasn’t a very good excuse.

Huff noted that people from her home county treat her very well, and the fair board decided to engrave a stone with her name on it, which is located at the main entrance of the fairgrounds.

Katie Stam, Miss America 2009, grew up down the road from her, she added, and her name is engraved on the other stone next to Huff’s memento.

Even though she was crowned Miss Indiana State Fair the same year she earned the title of Miss Jackson County 2012, Huff noted that she actually was the 2013 queen.

“The new queen is picked the last day of the state fair, so she can reign the whole year,” she said, adding that the Miss Indiana State Fair 2014 will be decided on Aug. 18.

Although Huff has been busy traveling around the state over the past year having a lot of fun representing her crown, she noted that she really is looking forward to the 2013 Indiana State Fair because to her it’s the real prize she won and also will end her year of royalty with a big bang.

Prior to the grand opening of the state fair, she added, she has had 40 official events — ranging from county fair pageants, livestock shows and teas with the queen — that she has attended, lending a hand with passing out ribbons or crowning a new county queen.

Huff, who will be a senior at Purdue University this fall majoring in agricultural education, said that her family also raised swine while she was growing up and still has a small hobby farm today, which is one reason she is really looking forward to being down in the ring during the grand champion livestock drive.

“I’ll be in it passing out ribbons,” she said.

When she was in 4-H, Huff mentioned, she was involved with showing both pigs and horses.