Fair Royalty

Wharton County Youth Fair pageants were held for the first time since winners were crowned in 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Four pageants, beginning with the Little Mr. & Miss at 1 p.m., were held Saturday, April 17 in Crescent Hall. Winners are (front, l-r) Little Mr. Cade Bram and Little Miss Kinley Sweat, (back, l-r) Princess Mallory Mahalitc, Queen Camille Burns and Jr. Miss Kenzi Gibson. The 2021 fair theme is ‘Dust Off Your Boots, It’s Showtime.’

Congratulations were in order to the 2021 Wharton County Youth Fair royal court Saturday, April 17, as Camille Burns was crowned Queen, Kenzi Gibson was named Jr. Miss, Mallory Mahalitc was crowned Princess and Cade Bram and Kinley Sweat were announced as the new Little Mr. and Miss, all held in Crescent Hall.

Since the coronavirus pandemic changed the look of the WCYF in 2020, pageants were not held. This year, all four pageants were held, as well as other events at the fair. Volunteers and participants were ready to kick off the fair this year with the theme, “Dust Off Your Boots, It’s Showtime.”

In each of the pageants, contestants were evaluated for their stage presentation that included self-introduction and answering questions, as well as personal interviews by the judges prior to the pageants.

Little Mr. & Miss

As the first of four pageants to be held on Saturday, the Little Mr. & Miss pageant began at 1 p.m. Dressed in the traditional Western wear of blue jeans, white shirt and red bandanna, nine girls and three boys took the stage.

Little Miss Kinley Sweat, a student at Newgulf Elementary, is the daughter of Cody and Kelly Sweat. Little Mr. Cade Bram, a student at Louise Elementary, is the son of Craig and Tanya Bram.

First runners-up were Prestyn Shelly and Camdon Holton. Shelley, a student at East Bernard Elementary, is the daughter of R.L. and Kristi Shelley. Holton is a student at Newgulf Elementary and the son of John and Kristin Holton.

Other contestants for Little Miss were:

• Claire Anderson, daughter of Andy and Rhonda Anderson, is a student at East Bernard Elementary.

• Meliah Bustamante, the daughter of Wayne and Casey Bustamante, is a student at Myatt Elementary.

• Sadie Hensley, daughter of Chad and Robin Hensley, is a student at Hutchins Elementary.

• Kinley Kunz, daughter of Chris and Kristin Kunz, is a student at Louise Elementary.

• Brystol Price, daughter of Scott and Lindsey Price, is a student at Myatt Elementary.

• Brynlee Price, the daughter of Scott and Lindsey Price, is a student at Hutchins Elementary.

• Shaleigh Tijerina, daughter of Marc and Stephanie Tijerina, is a student at East Bernard Elementary.

Other Little Mr. contestants were:

• Blaith Munivez, son of Oscar and Amy Munivez, is a student at East Bernard Elementary.

• Hudson Riha, son of Toby and Megan Riha, is a student at Hutchins Elementary.

This is Laura Dorotik’s first year to serve as chair of the 2021 WCYF Little Mr. & Miss pageant, along with the help of her committee.

“We had a great turnout, even though the numbers were lower than normal,” Dorotik said. “All contestants were ready to come out and support the fair. It was a good day.”


Following the Little Mr. & Miss contest, the Princess pageant got under way at 3 p.m.

Mallory Mahalitc, the newly crowned princess, is the daughter of Louis and Cindy Mahalitc and a student at Newgulf Elementary. First runner-up was Channing Bacak, daughter of Bart and Heather Bacak and a student at Hutchins Elementary.

Before the announcement of princess and runner-up, the top five were named as follows: Mahalitc, Bacak, Kolbie Klatt, daughter of Dwayne Klatt and Amanda Klatt and a student at Northside Elementary; Addison Koudela, daughter of Jason and Ashley Koudela and a student at St. Philip Catholic School and Emily Parker, daughter of Phillip and Shannon Parker and a student at Newgulf Elementary School.

Other contestants were:

• Liberty Gilley, daughter of Brent and Kay Gilley, is a student at Gilley Academy.

• Anyssa Perez, daughter of Richard Perez Jr. and Mary Ann Perez, is a student at East Bernard Elementary School.

Brooke Burns, Melanie Schumbach and Susan Joyce chaired the pageant.

After not having the pageant in 2020, Burns said it took a bit to refresh her memory on how things are organized for the event.

“It felt a little strange,” she said. “It was nice to feel a little bit of normalcy though.”

Jr. Miss

The 2021 Jr. Miss pageant started at 5 p.m. in Crescent Hall. After interviews and on-stage presentation, points were tallied and Kenzi Gibson of Wharton was named Jr. Miss. She is the daughter of Jonathan and Kristi Gibson. The other two contestants were Mia Fitzgerald of Boling, daughter of Jess and Kristin Fitzgerald and Eliska Shumbera of Wharton, daughter of John and DeeAnn Shumbera.

Keith Ermis served as chair of this contest.


The 2021 Queen Camille Burns of Wharton returns as a member of the WCYF royal family for the third year in a row. She was the 2019 Jr. Miss who represented the fair for 2020 as well because the pageant did not take place. She is the daughter of Taylor and Brooke Burns and a student at Boling High School.

First runner-up was Riki Nardiello of East Bernard, daughter of R.L. and Kristin Shelley. Second runner-up was Kamryn Till of Nada, daughter of Kevin and Tammy Till.

Kayla Strack of El Campo, daughter of Cuatro and Stephanie Strack, was chosen by her peers as Miss Congeniality.

Harleigh Strack earned the title of Queen of Ticket Sales for selling the most heifer raffle tickets, a total of 117 at $100 each.

The Directors’ Award will be presented at the ag day banquet. Points for time volunteered at the fair along with other fair involvement are the deciding factors in who will receive this award.

Other contestants for queen were:

• Kasey Burns of El Campo, daughter of Chris and Jennifer Burns, is a student at El Campo High School.

• Alyssa Jones of Louise, daughter of Jarret and Keri Jones, is a student at Louise High School.

• Jolie Konarik of El Campo, daughter of Jay and Amy Konarik, is a student at El Campo High School.

• Meredith Radley of El Campo, daughter of Jane Radley, is a student at El Campo High School.

• Hannah Sutton of El Campo, daughter of Donald and Fredia Sutton, is a student at El Campo High School.

• Leslie Zahn of E Campo, daughter of David and Michele Zahn, is a student at El Campo High School.

Tammy Dotson, who chairs the queen’s pageant along with April Graves, was ready for this year’s event.

“It was exciting to come back and have something for these ladies,” she said. “It was a lot of fun. It was nice to have the parents, grandparents and friends come out and support the girls ... it was a really good feeling.”

The outgoing 2019-20 royalty includes Little Miss Channing Bacak and Little Mr. Gage Seymour; Princess Morgan Krasucky, Jr. Miss Camille Burns and Queen Makensie Till. They are the first pageant winners to have served two consecutive years representing the WCYF.

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