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Meyer trades crown for FFA jacket at Iowa State Fair

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 08/21/2013 7:53 AM

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DES MOINES —Abrah Meyer ended her reign as Iowa State Fair Queen Saturday night when Kelsey Smith of Henry County was crowned. Sunday morning Meyer was back at the fair busy with her duties as Iowa FFA Secretary.

Meyer, the 18-year-old daughter of Brian and Brenda Meyer of Readlyn, can't believe how fast the year went.

"You have to cherish the time you have because it runs out quickly," Meyer said in an interview on the porch of the State Fair Administration Building.

Meyer graduated this spring from Wapsie Valley High School and will double major in global resource systems and agricultural business at Iowa State University this fall.

Last summer, Meyer was Bremer County Fair Queen before being crowned Iowa State Fair Queen.

"It's been a ton of fun," Meyer said. "It's been so enjoyable meeting so many people from across the state. It's been a summer filled with going to different county fairs and seeing what everyone cherishes about their county fair."

She visited 21 county fairs across the state. In one five-day period she was in five of six Association of Iowa Fairs districts. Her mother accompanied her, which was special for both mother and daughter.

"At last summer's Iowa State Fair, I awarded champion ribbons at the livestock shows and attended outhouse races on the Grand Concourse," Meyer said. "The Sale of Champions was really neat to see. I spent time at Little Hands on the Farm, was in the 4-H building, the Agriculture Building, the Bill Riley Stage and the grandstand. I got to meet President Obama at last summer's fair."

Saturday night she led a steer in the Governor's Charity Steer Show that was raised by Brandon Bahlman of Plainfield and sponsored by Bremer County Cattlemen and Bremer County Fair Association, her home county.

"Our team slogan is 'Peaches and Queen,' " Meyer said. "My county fair board has been amazing. I could not ask for a better support system. They fit every need. It's nice to have people that care that much."

Meyer was able to take part in a ribbon cutting launching a fund raising campaign for a new Bremer County fairgrounds called Champions' Ridge earlier this summer.

Meyer never belonged to 4-H but got involved in her county fair through FFA, starting by working in the concession stands and then exhibiting photography and crops. Her older brother, Karsten, showed livestock.

Meyer will never forget how gracious and hospitable all the counties were to her.

"Without people who care so much at the county level, the Iowa State Fair wouldn't be what it is," Meyer said. "It starts at the local level."

Among her most meaningful moments was meeting a little girl in a wheelchair at the Howard County Fair.

"She said we could have a tea party and be princesses together," Meyer said. "She said if I needed anything, she was at my service. It was so sweet, and it meant a lot to me."

As a state FFA officer, Meyer is helping out at FFA headquarters, assisting with livestock shows, working at the FFA display in the ag building and visiting with FFA ushers and stage attendants. She and other FFA members bunk at the Youth Inn.