ALEXANDRIA — Alayna Bergfield is looking forward to Sunday, July 16, when she takes the stage in the 2017 Madison County 4H Fair Queen contest. It isn’t just because she’s talented and accomplished but also because she’s been here before and learned from her experience.

Bergfield, a 2017 Lapel graduate and nine-year member of 4-H, is back in the contest for a second-straight year. While she was a bundle of nerves last year, she doesn’t feel that level of anxiety heading into this year’s pageant.

“I’m so happy to be in it; it’s so much fun to do,” she said. “I learned a lot last year. I was so nervous, because I had never done anything like this before. I learned not to be so lacking in confidence in an interview; I think this year that’s something I can work on and fix.”

Bergfield has been active in 4-H since she was 9 years old. She has participated in a wide array of projects, including junior leaders, sewing, photography, swine and cake decorating.

One of her favorite projects was sport shooting.

“I only did that for two years,” she said. “The first year was a general thing to learn, and the second year was archery. But it was still super fun to do. They had a shooting range, where you got to go and shoot a bunch of different types of guns and bows. You got to see what you were into.”

Bergfield will be busy during the fair with several projects on display as well as helping her younger sister, who is showing swine this year. Her week could get busier if she is awarded the crown at Sunday’s pageant, because then she would take on the responsibilities of fair queen.

“If I win, then I’ll have all the queen duties, too,” she said. “They include passing out ribbons to everyone who shows, going to all the shows and being in the parade.”

In school, Bergfield was active in drama club, prom committee, and the health and science club. She performed in two school musicals, including the 2017 production of “Grease,” in which she wore a 1950s-inspired dress she designed herself as a 4-H project.

She was also an irreplaceable manager for the Bulldog track and field team, according to coach Krista Loller.

“She is the best track manager around,” Loller said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do without her. She is organized, dependable, reliable and always on time with everything we needed. She knew I had the batons; she had everything else.”

Bergfield will attend Indiana University this fall in Bloomington, where she will major in business management. She hopes to open her own business to address a need that has been near and dear to her heart, especially at this time in her life.

“I envision myself in a makeup company,” she said. “As a teenager that is very interested in makeup, I see a lot of makeup that is marketed toward teenagers as ‘affordable.’ I don’t think it’s very affordable; it’s hard to ask a parent for a $50 thing out of the blue. To me, that’s not affordable, and the stuff that is affordable isn’t good quality. I want to create a company and market quality makeup that is truly affordable for teenagers.”

Bergfield said 4-H has taught her many life lessons that she will be able to use as she heads off to college and beyond — not only the tactile skills she has accumulated, but also some intangible and highly valuable skills.

“I definitely learned responsibility and time management when it comes to doing my projects,” she said. “I’ve learned decision-making skills, especially through sewing, because the patterns don’t always give you all the information you need. One of the biggest things I’ve learned — and it’s definitely shown in my school projects — is to always work hard and do the best you can do.”

The pageant is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the main stage at the 4-H Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

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Rob Hunt covers news, sports and other happenings in South Madison County. He can be reached at rhunt@pendletontimespost.com or (765) 778-2324.