ELKINS - Contestants traveled from all over the area in a night of fun, fashion and attitude at the first Ramps & Rail Pageant at The Old Brick Playhouse Saturday evening.
Participating in one of three categories ranging from youth, ages 6-13, teen, ages 13-16 and queen divisions, ages 16-21, 17 young ladies came out to strut their stuff and see who would take home the crown and sash.
The pageant is the first-ever hosted for the Ramps & Rail Festival, and according to Ed Greisel, president of the board of the Welcome Center at the Elkins Train Depot, it is a welcome addition to the event.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Chad Clem
The winners of the First Annual Ramps & Rail Festival Pageant at The Old Brick Playhouse including Queen MaKenzie Cooper of Elkins, Teen Queen Brooklyn Mayle of Philippi and Lil Miss Ramp Bouquet Hanna Veal of Elkins.
"This is a way to expand the festival to more than just one day," Greisel said. "We are happy to see everyone out and enjoying themselves."
"This is going to bring a new dimension to the festival," Pageant Coordinator Jerry Corley said. "It's a way to bring more recognition to the state, to the festival and to the community of Elkins."
Corley said the pageant is part of a statewide program known as State Fairs & Festivals and includes 90 festivals and pageants from across the state.
The event also featured a silent auction with over 20 items and live
entertainment from local talent like Gracie Metheny. Isha Franks, of the Fashion Closet in Elkins, was the Master of Ceremonies for the event.
Griesel said the Ramps & Rail Festival, which is scheduled for April 26, is in its sixth year and has found more success over the years.
"Everybody in this area seems to love ramps," Greisel said. "We see it as sort of a coming out event for spring. It s also an opportunity for non-profit groups as well as the Welcome Center itself to raise money."
The contestants were judged on appearance, poise, style and individual interviews with the judges, evening wear and their answer to an on-stage question. The contestants in the queen division also had to perform a live advertisement for the Ramps & Rail Festival. The three judges included Teresa Kee of Buckhannon, Michael Livesay of Buckhannon and Donna Mouser of Elkins.
After careful deliberation, the results were in; the winners were announced.
Calie Lott of Beverly, Mykal Hoffman of Philippi and Brooke Riffe of Bartow won Most Photogenic for each of their respective divisions. For the Lil Miss Bouquet Division the first runner-up was Madalyn Noel of Coalton and the Winner was Hanna Veal of Elkins.
Veal said her favorite part of the pageant was the interview.
For the Miss Ramps & Rail Teen Mykal Hoffman, of Philippi, was the first runner-up, and Brooklyn Mayle, of Philippi, was crowned 2014 Ramps and Rail Teen.
"I'm ecstatic," said Mayle. "I'm excited to reign as teen queen."
For the queen division, Brooke Riffe, of Bartow was first runner-up and MaKenzie Cooper of Elkins was crowned 2014 Miss Ramps and Rails Queen.
I'm really excited, said Cooper. I love ramps and I love to see everyone at the festival."
The judges all agreed that they had their work cut out for them, including Mouser who said the decision came down to the wire
"It was a very hard decision," she said.
The celebration continues April 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Elkins Depot Welcome Center s Sixth Annual Ramps & Rail Festival.
Contact Chad Clem by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.