Photo courtesy of Erin White
Cora Diehl, left, the 2017 Okanogan County Fair queen, congratulated the newly crowned 2018 queen, Shelby White, at the county fair last weekend.

By Marcy Stamper

Shelby White, whom people are more accustomed to seeing in ranching attire or on the wrestling mat, donned a tiara, a white lace dress — and cowboy boots — on Sunday (Sept. 10) when she was crowned queen of the Okanogan County Fair for 2018.

White gave her prepared speech on the 70-year history of the fair from the perspective of the fairgrounds themselves, starting with the old red barn in Riverside and moving on to the present compound in Okanogan, with its many barns and buildings.

Shelby, a sophomore at Liberty Bell High School, was also able to parlay a difficult situation into an eloquent answer to the judges’ impromptu question to the four royalty contestants about what they’d learned from the fair.

White, who’s been raising animals for the fair for nine years — since she was 6 years old — raised a pig this year, but it was disqualified after she brought it to the fair last week. While healthy, the pig didn’t have a certificate from a veterinarian that showed it had been effectively treated for a nasal infection earlier this summer, said Suellen White, Shelby’s grandmother and coordinator of the Methow Valley Cascaders 4-H Club.

Shelby had been drawn to the pig from early on, bottle-feeding it four times a day to help it gain strength. Although others suggested Shelby choose a different animal to raise for the fair, she was committed to the pig, said Suellen. The pig did so well that it made the minimum weight for the fair.

After taking a deep breath, Shelby told the judges that she’d learned that, when you make decisions, you need to do so with the future in mind.

Shelby will be able to sell the pig independently, but that’s unlikely to bring as much per pound as if it had been included in the market sale at the fair, said Suellen As ambassador for the fair over the next year, Shelby will travel to parades, rodeos, schools and chamber of commerce meetings around the county.