Three contestants in the Sweet Corn Festival Queen Pageant, left to right, are Mari Biers, Kylee Zinke and Melissa Wohrley. (Photo courtesy of Setchell Studio)
MENDOTA – A very short time remains before the 2017 Sweet Corn Festival Queen will be chosen to reign over the festivities of Mendota’s 70th Annual Sweet Corn Festival this weekend, Aug. 10-13.
Be sure to join Don and Karen Goy as they MC the evening of suspense and entertainment. Choosing one queen and two attendants from the 15 beautiful contestants will be a very difficult choice indeed for the judges. The judges will be busy most of Friday afternoon with the candidates’ interviews at the Pageant Tea.
Festivities will get underway at 6:30 p.m. on the First State stage on Washington Street downtown with the pre-pageant entertainment, the very talented Illinois Army National Guard 144th Army Band Jazz Combo, sponsored by Edward Jones Investments. The group will entertain up until pageant time at 7 p.m. Eureka Savings Bank will sponsor the return of the band to entertain during intermission of the pageant, while the judges are deciding, “Who will wear the crown?”
Now let’s introduce the final three contestants for the 2017 Sweet Corn Festival Queen Pageant.
The Mendota Rotary Club has selected Melissa Wohrley as its candidate. She is the daughter of Kevin and Jill Wohrley of Mendota. She has blonde hair and gray eyes, and stands 5-8.
Wohrley is a member of the 2017 MHS graduating class. She was a member of the tennis team and was a two-time state qualifier. She also was a member of the basketball, track and soccer teams. She took part in Madrigals, was a member of the MHS Show Choir, the band, where she served as drum major of the Marching Trojans, and the choir, where she served as president. She was selected to the All-State Honors Band and for the John Phillip Sousa Award. She was an honor student, having achieved the honor roll all eight semesters of her high school career. Wohrley was a member of the National Honor Society, serving as president, a member of the All-State Academic Team, and an Illinois State Scholar. She was also a member of Interact Club, serving as president. She was named by the News Tribune as member of the All-Area Academic Team.
Wohrley plans on attending North Central College in Naperville this fall and will be participating in their symphonic and basketball pep bands. She will begin working toward her doctorate in physical therapy, specializing in neurology.
She can be found this summer working as a lifeguard at Woodhaven Lakes, ensuring patrons’ safety and applying first aid if necessary. She will also be playing tennis and spending time with family and friends.
Wohrley likes to play sports and hike. She also enjoys being in musicals and playing the trumpet. She is especially interested in anatomy, singing, and trying to make different foods.
Her plans for the future include pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy, specializing in neurology and hopes to work at a facility that treats those recovering from brain-damaging incidents and brain surgeries.
She is excited to enter a health field and see what the future holds for her.
Kylee Zinke is the choice of the Gardner’s Club of Mendota for this year’s pageant. She is the daughter of Kyle Zinke and Heather Zinke of Mendota. She is 5-3 with blonde hair and blue eyes.
She graduated from Mendota High School this past May, where she was active in volleyball for all four years. She also was a member of the basketball and track teams. She was an honor student while at MHS, having achieved the honor roll all eight semesters of her high school career. She was also a member of FFA and a principal’s office worker.
Zinke plans to attend Illinois Valley Community College in the fall, eventually seeking a degree in physical therapy.
This summer you will find her working for Pioneer in Utica as a field scout and at Sullivan’s Foods in Mendota, bagging groceries.
She enjoys reading, going on runs, and spending time with her family and friends. She really enjoys watching professional sports and learning as much as she can about how the human body works.
Zinke’s plans for the future include graduating with her degree and working at a hospital in the physical therapy department and helping others.
She says that after tearing both of her ACLs within a year, it made her realize what she wanted to be in life. She says it made her a stronger person and taught her how to be both mentally and physically tough.
Mari Biers will be representing the Mendota Women of the Moose in this year’s pageant. She is the daughter of Cory and Becky Biers of Mendota. She is 5-7 and has blue eyes and blonde hair.
She is a May, 2017 graduate of Mendota High School, where she was a member of the volleyball team for four years, serving as captain her senior year. She played basketball for three years and also served as captain her senior year. In addition she ran track for all four years of her high school career, serving as captain as a senior. She was selected for the BNC All-Conference Team for track and volleyball her junior and senior years. She also participated in IVVP Club Volleyball for seven years.
Biers was an honor student at MHS, achieving the honor roll all eight semesters. She was also selected for the BNC All-Academic Team. She was a four-year member of FFA, serving as vice-president. She was Class President and a member of the MHS Student Council for four years and a member of the Spanish Club for four years. In 2014, Biers was selected as Sweet Corn Festival Volunteer of the Year.
She will attend Iowa State University this fall and plans to join a sorority and play several intermural sports. She is seeking a degree in kinesiology, specializing in physical therapy and athletic training.
This summer you will find her working for Pioneer, going from field to field checking on corn. She will also be going to country concerts, making memories with her friends and vacationing in Wisconsin.