Kendall Terry is not new to the pageant scene. She participated in her first pageant when she was just 3 years old, competing at the International Bar-B-Q Festival. Sixteen years later, Terry stood on the Miss Daviess County stage as a top-three contender alongside two of her friends as she waited to hear the final results.
When Miss Daviess County 2018 Celine Le began to give her farewell speech, Terry felt her tears start to form. Le recounted the journey she had as title holder over the past year and she delivered an emotional speech right before crowning this year’s winner.
“When Celine was talking, I could already feel my emotions rising,” Terry said. “When I heard them call my name as the new Miss Daviess County 2019, I was so excited and humbled.”
Although she has held many other pageant titles throughout the years such as Miss Russell County Fair, Miss Boyle County Fair and Miss Kentucky Bluegrass, winning this particular title, Terry said, is special because she won in her hometown. Being crowned Miss Daviess County will give her the unique opportunity to expand her platform right here in Owensboro.
For the past three years, Terry has worked for a cause that is important to her, an event she started herself called The Back to School Bash. Backpacks are purchased and filled with school supplies such as crayons, pencils, notebooks and hand sanitizer and given to those in need. During the event, which takes place in late July at Wesleyan Christian Center, children can take home a backpack free of charge.
Local businesses and sponsors give to this service project and Terry uses the money raised to purchase the school supplies and backpacks. Her goal this year is to fill 500 backpacks with supplies and she is already very close to that goal.
“Growing up I knew school supplies were expensive and that can be difficult on a family in need. The idea just came to me a few years ago, so I have been doing this ever since,” Terry said.
Her platform includes Down Syndrome Awareness and the idea that “we are more alike than different.” She serves as a volunteer for Green River Area Down Syndrome Association and the American Cancer Society for surrounding counties.
As far as giving back to the community, Terry loves to complete service projects. One of her favorite aspects of the pageant world is personal growth and the opportunity to give back. More important than a crown or title, Terry believes it’s so important to treat others well and be kind.
“My dad passed away when I was 10 years old,” Terry said. “He was so involved in the community and treated others with kindness. I want to carry that on.”
This year, Terry will get the opportunity to do just that. Part of her duties as title holder begin at the Daviess County Fairgrounds in just two weeks where she will get the opportunity to meet and greet people and be involved starting the events. In addition to competing for the crown of Miss Kentucky County Fair later this year, Terry stays busy as a business marketing major at Kentucky Wesleyan College, where she will be a sophomore in the fall.
“I know that I want to run a nonprofit one day; I just don’t know what yet,” Terry said.
According to Terry, being involved in pageants gives girls the opportunity to find a platform that they are passionate about and through acts of service, put that passion into action. She also enjoys the opportunity to meet new people, many of which turn into lifelong friends.
It has been a full week of pageant activities for local competitors. When Terry was crowned, she was joined by first runner up Shaelyn Mason, followed by second runner up Mackenzie Clark. The Miss Pre-Teen Daviess County crown went to Presleigh Smeathers on Thursday night. Competition continues tonight as the Miss Teen Daviess County Pageant will take place at the Hines Center at 7 p.m.