Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. Today, CARSON ROBINSON, 19, of Sidney, recently crowned as 2019 Champaign County Fair Queen, chats with staff writer Paul Wood.
Where did you grow up and who else is in your family?
I grew up outside of town in Sidney. I often remember going to my grandparents’ house (our family farm) and learning to drive on my grandpa’s John Deere mower. I have a huge family. My mom has four siblings and my dad, two, so I am very much supported.
Do you have any funny stories about growing up?
Up until I was about 3 or 4, I would “grunt” and point if I wanted something. My sister always knew exactly what I needed, so I didn’t need to use words. How the tables have turned. My family teases me about this to this day because now I don’t stop talking.
What do you love about the Champaign County Fair?
My favorite event at the county fair is the tractor pulls, but my favorite aspect of it is getting the youth and our community involved in agriculture. This is very important to me, and I cannot wait to share my passion with my community.
How did you get hooked on the tractor pull at the Champaign County Fair?
My family has always been involved in tractor pulling, so whether I liked it or not, I got taken to lots of them. As I grew up and realized that watching a tractor pull a sled was more intense than I thought, I was hooked. My grandpa has always pulled an Oliver tractor, and my uncle, a John Deere. So I’d say I am most definitely a “green girl.”
How do you plan to prepare for the state pageant?
My pageant director, Deb Simmons, and her daughter, Shelby, are so dedicated to this program. Preparing for state will be no problem with them by my side. I plan on preparing by walking in my heels way more than I want to, because we all know it is harder than it looks, practicing my speech probably close to 12 billion times and doing lots of mock interviews.
How will you find time for all the queen duties while being a college student?
While being a full-time student with two jobs, I will be very busy. However, I am super flexible and have a good balance in life. I stay organized, plan out everything and can “roll with” about anything.
It’s important for you to enhance fundraising. What are some of those ideas?
Fundraising for my county is a huge goal of mine. To start, Spencer and I will be selling popcorn of a variety of flavors at the fair for $5 a bag. This will help with our fair improvement project and our funds for the year. Throughout the year, I plan on seeking out new agricultural businesses for sponsorships and using my open-minded personality to gain support.
What is most important to you right now?
The most important thing to me is to make my county and my family proud.
What don’t people know about you?
Some people may not know that I still sleep with my baby blanket, “nigh night.” But if you know me, you have seen it, because I take it everywhere.
Do you have a guilty pleasure and what is it?
I put ice in my milk.
What would you order for your last meal?
Frog legs and potato chips.
Who are your favorite musicians and why?
My all-time favorite is Alan Jackson. He has always been my favorite because he is down to earth, sings feel-good songs and was my uncle Mike Walden’s favorite, too.
What’s the happiest memory of your life?
My grandpa coming up to me and giving me the biggest hug I have ever gotten after being crowned 2019 miss Champaign County fair queen. He’s the best.
What’s your best piece of advice?
My best piece of advice is to be yourself. Find your favorite thing about yourself and shine.
What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?
My first job was at Maurices in Tuscola and I made $9.50.
What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?
My first two years in high school, I wanted to be a calculus professor, but after getting involved in Future Farmers of America and seeing how many options there were, I changed my mind and now am studying to be an agriculture teacher and FFA adviser.
How do you handle a stressful situation?
With an open mind. There are always two sides to a story, and sometimes you just have to walk away.