06/27/11 Shelby Dirrim seemed genuinely surprised to hear her name called as the winner of the Miss Blueberry 2011 pageant on Saturday night. The 18-year-old sophomore at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne was named 2nd runner-up in the 2010 pageant. She is majoring in theater with a minor in music.
Immediately after being crowned by 2010 Miss Blueberry Shelly Ortiz, Dirrim said, “I’m anxious to get started representing the Blueberry Festival.” She said, “The Blueberry Festival and pageant has so many dedicated volunteers and complicated committees.”
Dirrim said, “I will cherish this for the rest of my life. It is the best experience of my life.”
For her win, Dirrim received her crown, sash, flowers, crystal bowl, Blueberry necklace and a $1250 scholarship. She is the daughter of Heather and Terry Dirrim of Bremen.
She will also be competing in other pageants state-wide.
The 17 girls vying for the title competed in several different categories. Contestants were asked to choose their favorite childhood memory and create an outfit that reflected that memory. Dirrim wore a “Santa’s Helper” suit much like the ones she has been wearing since she was three and visited rest homes with her grandmother. The theme-wear portion counted 30 percent of the total.
Switching gears, the girls changed into formal wear and answered an on-stage question. The contestants were provided with a list of possible questions prior to the event, but the actual question they were given was randomly chosen. This category also counted as 30 percent. Not only were they judged on the gown chosen, but also on their poise and ability to think on their feet.
On Saturday morning, each of the contestants was given a personal interview with the judges. The results of the interviews counted as the remaining 40 percent of their totals.
First runner-up was 17-year old Brianna Trappe. She will be a senior at Culver Girls Academy in the fall. She was also honored by being voted Miss Friendship by all of the other contestants. Trappe, daughter of Rena and Brian Trappe, received a sash, flowers, crystal bowl and a $750 scholarship. She also received a $100 cash award for being named Miss Friendship.
Finishing as the 2nd runner-up was Kelsey Strahla. The 19-year-old daughter of Sherry and Bud Strahla, is a sophomore at the University of Southern Indiana where she is studying nursing. She was given a sash, crystal bowl and a $500 scholarship.
Kendall Mason and Erin Kinney were named to the final five contestants.
Each of the final five had to tell why they thought they deserved to be Miss Blueberry and what they hoped to accomplish.
Entertainment for the evening was 2010 Miss Blueberry Shelly Ortiz. She performed a solo. The Blueberry Committee had also compiled a video of her experiences throughout the year that brought tears to many in the audience and Ortiz herself.
Mater of Ceremonies for the pageant was Adam Gividen. Although he was a last minute replacement, he said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Judges were Marcy Bogunia and Lori Maike.
The Blueberry Festival Board wishes to thank the Argos Community Schools. Sandy Burroughs and Argos High School Theater staff for their hospitality in allowing them to use their facility for the Scholarship Pageant.
Carol Anders Correspondent