By Briley Gargis
MILFORD – Winning a pageant is no easy task, but for Madelyn Zimmerman, this was just one of many achievements for the college sophomore.
Zimerman is a graduate of Wawasee High School and will be a sophomore at Kansas State University in the fall where she is majoring in agricultural communications with minors in animal science, mass communications and journalism. On top of this, she also happens to be an ambassador for the College of Agriculture.
She was raised on a farm, and her love of agriculture began during the fourth grade when she got two beef cows. This was the beginning of her 4-H career and turned into a business with nearly 60 cows by the age of 10.
Zimmerman now has been in 4-H for about 10 years and has been involved with Future Farmers of America as an officer at the local and state level.
Zimmerman describes agriculture as being. “Everything from simply putting food on the table, to a large amount of science behind it. It is also people who just want to help everyone around them. Anybody who has the drive to want to provide and help a community prosper is involved with agriculture in some small or big way.”
Getting involved with the pageant was an easy task since she cites her strongest attribute as being a very driven individual. Zimmerman said her friends had reached out to her about giving the pageant a try.
This was her first experience in doing something like this. The process included four separate interviews, onstage questions, a dance routine and modeling of different outfits.
Her first experience at a pageant proved to be very successful when she was announced as the 2020 Kosciusko County Fair Queen.
“Ultimately, (the win) came down to passion and drive, but I had a firm reason to run,” Zimmerman said. “I know what it is like to not have a voice. and I wanted to be able to run and show that you can get a voice back.”
She said that In sixth grade, an incurable disease wiped out the cattle herd she was beginning to grow. Zimmerman basically had to start from ground zero.
“A lot of times I felt like what I was doing wasn’t enough. And I don’t want anybody else to ever have to feel that way,” she said.
Winning a pageant usually comes with a large amount of celebration, but COVID-19 guidelines have put a strict hold on many of those traditional activities.
“This year is a different year for sure,” Zimmerman said.
“Growing up in Milford and watching these types of parades make it hard that I won’t get to be in one, but I have a lot of respect for the leaders who are doing what is best for everyone’s well being,” she said.
Since many businesses have taken a large hit due to COVID-19, Zimmerman wants to take this year as queen to reach out to various businesses. She wants to give a spotlight to those impacted in hopes of giving them a platform to share their stories and get help in any way possible.
Taking that step out of the comfort zone was a big deal for Zimmerman. She believes that getting out there and pushing yourself to do greater things can bring results. This mindset has proven to work many times for her in the past.
“You have the ability to do what you set your mind to,” Zimmerman said.
In the future, she plans on becoming an advocate for agriculture through public relations and digital communication outreach.
She wants to travel around the country and tell stories of different farmers and the impact each and every one of them has on our country.
Zimmerman hopes to use social media platforms to shine a light on the agriculture industry and the great people behind it.