Great Jones County Fair Queen Lauren Ries waves to the crowd during the Iowa State Fair’s coronation Aug. 10. Ries was named first runner-up.

Des Moines

Great Jones County Fair Queen Lauren Ries, daughter of Doug and Karla Ries, was named first runner-up at the Iowa State Fair’s queen competition during the coronation ceremony Aug. 10.

“I was really excited,” Ries said of her reaction. “I definitely was surprised. There were so many great girls.”

Since being crowned Great Jones County Fair queen back on July 16, Ries had been hard at work preparing for the state competition. Great Jones County Fair Pageant Coordinator Marcia Kray ran her through a multitude of different possible interview questions. The interview portion is one of the main differences between the state and county competition as contestants are run through not one, but three different interviews: a one on one, a group interview and a speed interview.

Kray and Ries’s mother took her shopping and helped her pick outfits for every portion of the pageant. Before getting to Des Moines and being schooled on how to walk on the runway, Ries also did some runway training with Kray.

All the practice ahead of time added to Ries’s comfortability when it came to the actual event.

“By practicing before (the pageant), I felt like I knew a bit better what to expect and what it was going to be like going into it,” she said.

Another important part of her time in Des Moines was deciding how Ries would use her platform during her reign as queen for Jones County. She said she plans to organize a golf tournament to benefit the Aiming for a Cure Foundation, which helps children and their families suffering from cancer. The foundation was started in 2003 in memory of Ries’s cousin, Ben.

As first runner-up, Ries does not have any added responsibilities, other than the responsibilities she inherited by being named Great Jones County Fair queen. The only way that would change would be if the queen became unable to perform her duties.

That title went to Hannah Koellner, 18, of Mahaska County, who was the 56th queen to be crowned.

As the first runner-up, Ries earned a $1,500 scholarship and $300 gift card to Jordan Creek Mall. All members of the Royal Court received a plaque from the State Fair and a floral bouquet from Boesen the Florist.

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