Miss Carroll County Fire Prevention and Junior Miss Carroll County Fire Prevention were crowned at a ceremony Sunday, Oct. 14.
Rather than a beauty contest, this competition tests young women on their knowledge of fire prevention. The winners will spend the next year going out into their communities to spread up-to-date knowledge on fire safety and prevention.
Colline Ruby was named Junior Miss and Kerrigan Spenner was named Miss Fire Prevention.
Spenner said watching her sister compete inspired her to try for the title, first in the junior competition and now in the upper level.
“I saw it and said, ‘Hey, that seems like a lot of fun,’” she said. “I’ve been running with it for four years now.”
Ruby was inspired by her mother.
“My mom is EMS and a nurse so she saves people all the time. I can’t stand blood, so I’m not good with that, but I like helping people, so this is a way for me to teach fire prevention and save lives,” she said.
Two girls competed for Junior Miss, Ruby and Bri Gaigalas, of New Windsor, who was named the runner-up. Three tried for Miss Fire Prevention: Spenner, Ashley Paulsen of Hampstead, and Sarah Norman of New Windsor.
Each contestant first answered the question “How will you spread the fire prevention message?”, followed by a randomly selected question about fire safety and prevention.
Ruby and Spenner both said they had to practice their knowledge of fire prevention before the competition.
They both promised to use their title to go out in the community to schools, day cares, churches, senior centers and other public forums to spread knowledge about fire prevention.
“I was excited and nervous,” Spenner said of the competition. “It was, ‘Yay, let’s do this,’ and then it was, ‘Oh, we have to wait now,’ ” she said.
The contestants were nervous while judges Johnny and Marsha Roth deliberated. Johnny Roth is a past president of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association and Marsha Roth is the current president of the Ladies Auxilary.
“That’s when all the nerves kick in,” Spenner said.
Carla Clagett, outgoing Junior Miss Carroll County Fire Prevention and Taylor Blizzard, outgoing Miss Carroll County Fire Prevention, spoke to encourage the girls while they waited for results.
Kerrigan Spenner is a student at Manchester Valley High School where she is involved in several extracurriculars. She competed for Lineboro. She enjoys singing, acting, volunteering at non-profit conventions, camping and archery. She was the first runner-up for 2017-2018.
Colline Ruby, who competed for Hampstead, is a student at Hanover Middle School, and enjoys playing softball, scrapbooking, doing crafts and singing. She is a member of Lineboro 4-H club, fastpitch softball and her school choir.
The contest is sponsored by the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association (CCVESA) and the Auxiliary to CCVESA.
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Spenner will have the opportunity to compete in the the Maryland State Firemen’s Association Miss Fire Prevention competition next June during the annual convention.