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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fair queen isn’t shy about her love for county

“I love this county!”

Megan Muzic of Leroy Township makes no secret about the fact that she appreciates all Lake County has to offer.

“I love this area. It’s a great place. I love these people, too.”

That’s why the 2012 graduate of Riverside High School plans to return here after her graduation from veterinary school in six years.

It might sound like a long time to you, but, to Muzic, it’s nothing.

Educational accomplishments roll off her tongue like song lyrics do for some of us.

“I got my associate degree when I was 17, before I graduated from Riverside,” she said. “When I get to Findlay in a few weeks, I’ll be a junior. I’ll get my preveterinary degree in two years. I’ll go to Ohio State, most likely, because they don’t have a veterinary program at Findlay.

OK, then. Let’s go!

Oh wait, Muzic has a little something to take care of first.

The 2012 Lake County Fair queen will perform her duties at the event that starts Tuesday and runs through Aug. 19 at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Painesville Township.

Crowned Aug. 5 in the 4-H Building at the Fairgrounds, Muzic has the honor of being the first Lake County Fair queen.

There formerly was a 4-H queen, but this is the first time the 156-year-old fair has had its own royalty.

Girls taking part in the pageant are all members of 4-H, and went through an interview process with Cindy Adams of PNC Bank; Willoughby Municipal Court Judge Harry Field; and Perry School Board member Sueann Sines.

Finishing as the first runner-up was Shannon McCauley. Second runner-up was Meredith Voegtler.

All three girls must attend the fair during its six-day run.

That won’t be a problem, because they’ll be showing their animals there anyway.

It’s a longtime habit for Muzic, who said it all started with a bunny when she was a little girl.

Now, she’s a member of Barnyard Kids, and is involved in market steer, market hogs and market rabbits.

“I’ve just been in clubs my whole life,” she said. “This is my first year with a beef steer, and it’s just been really cool.”

Muzic said her family got involved in farming before she was born.

“My parents lived in the city when they were kids, and they moved out here when they got married,” she said. “I got involved in rabbits when I was a kid, and it just kind of rolled into lots of other animals. When I was in fifth grade, Christmas, I got a horse, and it just kind of flew into market animals and everything.

“They’re all at my house. I have a horse, too. I have a horse, pigs, cow, rabbits. It’s not like a full blown-out farm. It’s like, one horse, a couple pigs. I really like it.”

Muzic said she is gearing up for the difficult task of parting with her steer during the fair auction.

“It’s going to be hard,” she said. “I’ve done pigs before, and you get attached to pigs, but a steer is so close to me, he’s like my horse. He comes over in the morning and lets you pet him in the morning, and it’s going to be really hard. I wrote my ‘thank you buyer’ letter two days ago, and I was like ‘I can’t do this!’ ”

The girls competing for the fair queen title weren’t strangers when the contest started.

“I love those girls,” she said after her victory ceremony. “We’ve been in 4-H together since we were little.”

She was a little surprised by a couple of the perks that come her way as the queen.

Not only will she preside over this year’s fair, she’ll also compete in the Ohio State Fair queen contest early next year.

Then, there’s that other thing. As the reigning queen, Muzic will host next year’s queen ceremony at the Fairgrounds.

“I was a little intimidated,” she said after learning the detail during Sunday’s ceremony.

Asked what she was more nervous about, hosting or taking part in the state fair contest, she didn’t hesitate.

“Probably hosting,” she said. “I’m good with people, but I just get nervous in front of crowds.”

One thing that doesn’t intimidate her is large animals. In fact, that’s her career goal. 

“I’d like to open my own practice, that’s my goal,” she said. “I want to work with large animals, non equines. I really like the beef, pigs. I get more of a thrill working with them.

“They’re big, they’re strong. You can’t outpower them, you have to outsmart them. You can’t rough-house a cow to stand there and take a shot. You have to reason with them, pretty much.

Muzic said she hopes one day to work at the Lake County Fair as a veterinarian. She said they have a big presence.

“They’re on call, so if an emergency happens, and they come to take pee samples from the grand champions to make sure they’re not on steroids,” she said.

“I just think that’s really cool. I took a lot of chemistry at Lakeland, and I’m so into that. Like, this chemical and this chemical makes this, that’s a big part of vet school, and I’m excited to jump into it.

Muzic’s sparkling blue eyes shine brightly when she looks to her bright future with animals.

If you head to the fair this week and spot the brown-haired beauty in the tiara and white sash, do yourself a favor and congratulate her on this high honor.

She’ll dazzle you with her joy for the fair, and for its place in your back yard.

She loves it here, and here’s hoping she finds her way back after school to make a lifetime of difference in our area.
Twitter: Lauranh


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