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19 contestants vying for the title of Sweet Corn Festival Queen

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 8th, 2014


Three candidates for the title of Sweet Corn Festival Queen, left to right, are Reiss Avery, Brianna Kaleel and Kady Halbmaier. Not pictured: Kourtney Kobilsek. (Photo courtesy of Setchell Studio)


MENDOTA – It is always a very difficult task to select a Sweet Corn Festival Queen, and this year is no exception, with 19 excellent candidates vying for the crown. The girls have been selected by Mendota not-for-profit organizations to represent them in this year’s pageant.

The pageant will be held Friday, Aug. 8 at 7:30 p.m. on the First State stage on Rt. 34 in downtown Mendota. Please note that this is an earlier start time. There will be pre-pageant entertainment beginning at 7 p.m. followed by the pageant itself.

Preparations for the 2014 Sweet Corn Festival Queen Pageant are underway, as the candidates have recently had their publicity photos taken by Setchell Studio of Mendota. Pageant co-chairpersons Michelle Barkman, Monica Zimmerlein, and Abby Barker will be working closely with the candidates in preparation for the big night. Each of the Sweet Corn Queen hopefuls will be very busy during the next few weeks, rehearsing stage presence, and getting ready for their interviews with the judges.

Now let’s introduce you to our first four candidates for Sweet Corn Festival Queen.

The Mendota Business and Professional Women’s Club has selected Kourtney Kobilsek as its candidate. She is the daughter of Dan and Amy Kobilsek of Mendota. She is 5-6 1/2, and has brown hair and brown eyes.

A May 2014 graduate of Mendota High School, Kobilsek was an honor roll student and a member of the tennis team her freshman and sophomore years. She was also a member of FFA all four years, serving as secretary her senior year.

Kobilsek plans on attending Western Illinois University in the fall, seeking a degree in nursing. She wishes to specialize in pediatrics and also get her paramedic license.

This summer you will find her working as a teller at First State Bank in Mendota and detasseling and derouging for Atherton Detasseling of Mendota.

Her hobbies include 4-wheeling and watching movies. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is interested in taking part in leadership activities. She hosted the “Swinging for Diabetes Golf Outing” last fall and hopes to be a part of it again this fall.

Her plans for the future include, getting her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, getting married and eventually starting a family.

Brianna Kaleel is the choice of the Mendota Quarterback Club for this year’s pageant. She is the daughter of David and Gretel Kaleel of Mendota, and is 5-9 with brown hair and green eyes.

Kaleel graduated from MHS in December 2014, where she played on the volleyball team for two years. She was also a member of the tennis team for one year and the golf team for one year. She was active in FFA, Art Club, Yearbook Staff, and Spanish Club, serving as its treasurer her senior year. She was also a member of the MHS Choir and participated in the high school plays.

Attending Illinois Valley Community College since January, she plans to eventually transfer to the University of Illinois. There she plans to enter the Honors Program and join the World Language Organization. She is seeking a PhD in English Education for the Secondary School/College.

Kaleel will be attending classes at IVCC and theatre camp this summer, as well as traveling with her family. Her major interests include theatre, traveling, tutoring and teaching.

Kaleel’s future plans include graduating with an Associate in Arts next summer from IVCC, and transferring to the U of I to get a Doctoral English Education Degree. Her goal is to be able to start and run her own school someday.

The Mendota Area Y has selected Kady Halbmaier as its candidate. She is the daughter of Jim and Peggy Halbmaier of Mendota. She is 5-4 and has blue eyes and blonde hair.

Halbmaier graduated from MHS in May, where she participated in both track and tennis all four years of her high school career. She also served as captain of the track and tennis teams. In addition, she was a member of the basketball and bowling teams for two years. An Honor Roll Student for eight semesters, Halbmaier was also selected as an Illinois State Scholar. She was a D.A.R.E. Role Model and worked in the business and principal’s offices while at MHS.

Halbmaier plans on attending North Central College in the fall and being a member of the women’s tennis team and Teach First Scholar. She is seeking a degree in elementary education.

This summer you will find her working at the Mendota Y’s day camp for kids and teaching tennis. She is also working at the Mendota Civic Center as part of the wait staff.

Halbmaier enjoys tennis and outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, bike riding and running. She also likes to sew. She loves to shop and spend time traveling with her family. She also enjoyed a fun trip this summer with her family to Mexico. She especially likes children and babysitting.

She works for her sponsoring organization, the Mendota Y, and is well aware of what they do for individuals as well as for the community as a whole.

Reiss Avery is the candidate representing the Mendota Optimist Club. She is the daughter of Matt Avery and Lisa Avery of Mendota. She is 5-2 with blonde hair and brown eyes.

Avery graduated this May from Mendota High School, where she was a member of the volleyball team, softball team and cheerleading squad. She was a Student Council member, as well as a member of FFA. She also worked in the library while at MHS.

Avery plans on joining the Air Force in the fall, seeing the world, while helping and serving our country.

She is busy this summer working at the Mendota Swimming Pool, ensuring the safety of patrons as they swim. In addition, she works for the Mendota Y Summer Camp for kids, watching the children and getting them involved in summer activities. She also umpires for the Mendota Little League and is a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Her hobbies include softball, rollerblading, and swimming. She likes to be outdoors, enjoying the weather with family and friends. Traveling, staying active, and going to the zoo are a few of Avery’s favorite things to do.

Her plans for the future include seeing the world, experiencing life through the military, while attending college, and staying happy.












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