RUSSELLVILLE, Mo. - Wearing a new skirt and a top borrowed from her godmother, Elizabeth "Elli" Nichols, 12, approached confidently when her name was called for the Miss Teen Russellville contest Friday.
"I don't dress up a lot," said Nichols, who was grateful the contest has a western-wear theme.
No stranger to interviews and auditions, Nichols said she pushed aside her nerves by pretending she was at an audition, like she has done in the past for the Stained Glass Theater of Mid-Missouri.
When the questions and walking in front of about 100 audience members outside the City Park Gazebo were over, Nichols said it was "hard to think" when her name was announced as the 2013 Miss Teen Russellville.
She thought, "OK. Wow!" as the 2012 Miss Teen Russellville Madison Oliver crowned her and gave her the blue silk sash.
As part of her royalty duties, Nichols will be in the Russellville Frog Leg Festival and Engine Show parade at 9:30 a.m. today. Then she will wear her crown and sash throughout the day, which will celebrate the town's 175th anniversary.
Nichols said she was equally excited for the children she babysits - Emerson and Celeste Garrett - to also win ribbons in the Little Mr. and Miss Russellville contest in the 6-9 months boys and 13-18 months girls categories, respectively.
Karsyn Duncan placed first in the 19-24 month girls category.
Before the contest began, volunteers and vendors had been busy setting up for the three-day festival.
Mike and Pam Franke from Novelty set up their Franke's Kettle Korn stand with bags of corn and large copper drums.
"We do it the way it was done in the pioneer days," Franke said.
Following the contests and baby show, the Kansas group Blue Stem took the stage playing old-time favorites and originals with the familiar fiddle, guitar, bass and vocal harmonies.
Behind the park, the girls 12U softball tournament began with five teams, including Jamestown, Jefferson City, Tuscumbia and Eldon, competing through Saturday.