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Laura Francis 2011 Miss Annie Oakley

By Naiesha Thobe, Teen Scribe

Lead Photo: Jessica Transue. Photo; Laura’s winning shot and Best Costume: Dylan Hoover. Coming soon: photo essays from Jessica and Dylan.

Laura Francis, a junior at Ball State University, took the 100-ft round to become Miss Annie Oakley 2011. First runner-up was Marie Blakely; second runner-up was Majennica Nealeigh. The winning costume went to Kari Kramer (right, shown with Miss Annie Oakley 2010 Ruby Jo Walls) on Wednesday evening.

Thursday night people gathered at the Darke County Fairgrounds to watch the finalists shoot it out to try and earn the title of Miss Annie Oakley 2011. There were six finalists all striving towards one goal, although only one would prevail.

First up was Molly Magoto, age 16, a Junior at Greenville High School. Second, Marie Blakeley, 16, Junior at Ansonia High School. Third, Majennica Nealeigh, a 15 year old home-schooled Junior. The fourth contestant was Laura Francis, 19, a Junior at Ball State University. Fifth was Rachel Francis, 16, another Junior at Ansonia. Sixth up was Alyssa Baumgardner, 14, a freshman at Greenville.

All six contestants showed extreme talent with a rifle, although one by one, the competition dwindled. Until there were only three left - Marie, Majennica, and Laura. At 95 feet, Ms. Nealeigh missed her target, becoming the second runner up.

Then it was the final round to see who would take home the title. After three tiebreaking rounds where both girls shot from 100 feet, Laura Francis took the title of Miss Annie Oakley 2011.

Second and first runners-up were presented with trophies, as well as Miss Annie Oakley 2011. Laura was also presented with a sash reading her title from the previous Miss Annie Oakley, Ruby Jo Walls. As well as the trophy and sash, Laura received her honorary trophy for the year: a rifle that had been crafted by John E. Baumgardner.

Laura, along with the runners-up, will be seen in the Annie Oakley Parade held Saturday morning, as well as in the fairgrounds during the weekend and a variety of events throughout the year.

Congratulations, girls!

Naiesha, Jessica and Dylan are student interns through the Greenville High School Career Mentorship Program.

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