breaking pumpkin weighs in at 920.5 lbs.
America highlights Pumpkin Show
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Katie Stams dream to be Miss America since
she was three-years-old, became a reality that she shared with
those attending the Versailles Pumpkin Show Parade on Saturday,
Miss America, who is the first Miss Indiana to be chosen as
Miss America in the pageants 88-year history, was the
belle of the ball so to speak as she was whisked
into the county by a sleek black limousine driven by Scott Neal
of Osgood. But, she didnt stay in the limo long.
Katie was the Grand Marshal of the parade riding in a red convertible.
As the color guard of the Versailles American Legion stood at
attention, she was waltzed onto the stage by Jerry Gilpin to
take the microphone to sing the National Anthem.
Not only is Miss America outstanding in her looks, but she spoke
words of encouragement to every young person in the audience
after the parade. She was good natured about taking pictures
with everyone who wanted one, and later in the day could be
found amongst the crowd signing autographs and having her photo
In a private press conference, she noted her crown was not real
diamonds, it was made up of more than 700 Austrian crystals.
But if I lost it, Id go after it the same as if
it was made of diamonds, she told those gathered at the
Versailles Baptist Church Family Life Center.
Since the moment the crown was placed on her head, Katie said
her life completely changed. Its been a wild ride,
a whirlwind she exclaimed. And one she says shes
been blessed to ride. She said being Miss America has changed
her life in every single way it could have. She said it has
had such a positive impact on her.
Although she doesnt get to see her family and friends
much during this year, she says its a sacrifice they are
all willing to make. Modern technology affords her contact via
email, text, voicemails, etc.
The beautiful lady, who was the focal point for the day on Saturday,
told how blessed she feels to carry the title Miss America.
She believes in serving others, a theme that fell right into
line with the Versailles Lions Club as they strive to serve
others by having the Pumpkin Show each year. She says she has
thoroughly enjoyed her time so far being Miss America and although
she has traveled in several states and other countries, Indiana
is home. Theres no place like Indiana, she
Some places shes enjoyed visiting have been New York City
because of the energy and excitement; Germany, for their history
and discipline; and Alabama for their southern hospitality.
Its still hard to beat Indiana, according to Miss Stam,
who says following her stint with the pageant, she plans to
make her home back in Indiana.
Being photographed thousands of times in one event, Katie told
the press she had to have an extensive wardrobe. Another first
in the pageants history is having a designer donate all
the clothing she will need for the entire journey. That man
is Joseph Ribkoff, who has another first, he has two stores
in the United States and one of them is in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Saying she dreamed of being Miss America since she was three
years old, Katie told the crowd the actual opportunity has allowed
her to dream even bigger dreams and realize theres no
limit to what you can do. She is writing a book and is especially
proud of her endeavors in writing a series of childrens
Katie Stam was made an honorary member of the Versailles Lions
Club for life and given a plaque by Lions Club President Terry
Zinz. The Town of Versailles also declared Saturday as Katie
The bands marched on!
Although it rained for the entire four days slated for the Versailles
Pumpkin Show this year, it didnt rain on the parade! There
were less entries than usual, according to those in charge of
the parade route, and they attributed the lower count to the
The Best Float prize went to Pattersons Nursery for their
beautifully decorated floral float. Other winners of the floats
are as follows: Youth Organization: first place, FFA (included
South Ripley and Jac-Cen-Del); second place went to South Ripley
Elementary Student Council. Organization Float: Tri-Kappa, first
place; Indiana Patriot Guard, second place. Religious Float:
Hopewell Baptist Church, first place; Delaware and Napoleon
Methodist Church, second place; Agri-Business Float: Zimmer
Tractors, first place; Swinneys Lawn Mower & Tractor,
second place. Business Float: Friendship State Bank, first place
and Versailles Farm & Garden, second place.
The weather cleared long enough for the bands to be able to
perform, with seven signed on, according to Jerry Gilpin, president
of the Versailles Pumpkin Show this year. He was also in charge
of all of the entertainment, which went off without a hitch
despite the rain.
Ted Tapp, who has been involved with the Pumpkin Show for more
than 20 years said he doesnt remember ever having it rain
the entire four days of the event. Older members of the club
said they couldnt remember it raining everyday either.
The blessing came when the sun came out just a little on Saturday
to allow kids to enjoy the rides and people to visit on the
square as they would traditionally.
However, there were some firsts at the Pumpkin Show this year.
There was a record breaking pumpkin raised by Hank Nicholson
of Versailles, tipping the scales at 920.5 pounds. This was
in the Open Class Division. Coming in second was Bill Hughes
of Versailles with 674 pounds; third place went to Quinton Huff
of Deputy for his 574 pound pumpkin and fourth place went to
The Olde Garden Shack of Batesville, with a whopping 395 pound
The Ripley County Class first place winner was Wilma Hughes
of Versailles with her 688 pound pumpkin; second place went
to Leanne and Luke Ludwig of Batesville for their 340 pound
pumpkin; third place went to Josephine and Jacqueline Ferkinhoff
of Batesville for 333 pounds of pumpkin and fourth place was
nothing to sneeze at, a 310 pound pumpkin grown by Steve Brunner
of Noblesville, who actually grew the pumpkin in Ripley County.
The weighing of the big pumpkins took place at 8 a.m. at Gilpins
Monuments on US 421 instead of the traditional weighing at the
stage. This made it easier to maneuver the large gourds and
less dangerous for the crowd. It also made it easier for the
pumpkin growers to then get in the parade and the crowd still
was able to see the large pumpkins with the weight written on
It was exciting to see truck loads and trailers loaded with
the massive pumpkins.
After the parade, the Lions Club sold all of the pumpkins they
had grown, along with various shaped gourds.
On opening night, Wednesday, September 23 the King and Queen
of the 2009 Versailles Pumpkin Show was named with Jacob Waldron
of South Ripley and Sara Niles of North Decatur taking the titles.
Their court included: Caleb McClellan of Switzerland County
and Olivia Quiroz of Oldenburg as first runners-up; and Easton
Asher of the Southeastern Career Center and Sarah Sandford of
Lawrenceburg as second runners-up.
This year the contest had been opened up to many more schools
to see 24 contestants vying for the titles.
On Thursday evening, the Prince and Princess of the 2009 Versailles
Pumpkin Show was named. They were Colby Bush of South Ripley
and Kiara Owens of Jac-Cen-Del. Their court included: first
runners-up, Sarah Taylor of South Ripley and Ethan Walterman
of Jac-Cen-Del; second runners-up were Skylar Engle from Sunman
and Joshua Clark, representing Milan.
Baking and Pie Eating contests:
The winners of the 2009 Pie Eating Contest, sponsored by Ripley
Publishing Co. were Samantha White of Jac-Cen-Del and Scott
McNeelan from South Ripley. Each received $50 in cash and all
of the contestants received a free coupon for a pumpkin blizzard
from the Versailles Dairy Queen.
Alvin Busching of Versailles took the Best Baker Award from
the baking contest sponsored by Ripley Publishing Co. He won
$200 and a plaque for his award winning pumpkin pie. He is the
first man to win this coveted title and prize. (Winners in each
category will be listed with pictures in The Versailles Republican
Despite the inclement weather, the Pumpkin Show had many rays
of sun as people competed in a variety of categories while others
were content to visit with old friends.
We cant do much about the weather, noted Gilpin,
who said with a smile that he thought things went off great
and we were so fortunate to have Miss America among the crowd
Members of the Versailles Lions Club have already been going
over the records and making plans for next years event
which always takes place the last full weekend in September.