Jamie Bullock was all ready to pack her things and head back to college in North Carolina when it happened.
School will have to wait another week for Bullock, an 18-year-old from Ellicott City, who beat out 20 other young women Friday night to be crowned the Maryland Farm Bureau Queen. The win came as a shock to the college sophomore, who this year served as the Howard County Farm Bureau Queen.
"I was trying to make sure they called the right name," Bullock said yesterday before she returned to her duties at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium. "I was really surprised."
Not bad for the pretty brunette who once considered turning down being an officer in 4-H because it involved public speaking. Since then, Bullock has held several offices in the organization and participated in a Heifer Project International service project, which raised funds to send livestock to needy families.
A 1999 graduate of Glenelg High School, Bullock divided her high school years among activities such as choir, varsity volleyball and the National Honor Society and raising sheep and rabbits on the acre of land that is her home near West Friendship.
"I have shown sheep at the [Howard County] fair, participated in the dairy leasing program and have been a 4-H member for nine years," said Bullock, who was forced to leave her beloved ram, Dexter, at home when she set off for college. "I think it helped that I had such a diverse background along with my interest in agriculture."
Activities such as 4-H helped shape Bullock into the person she is today, said her mother, Sue Bullock, who teaches social studies at Wilde Lake High School.
"She has a real appreciation for Maryland agriculture and the ways people's lives and careers also are connected to agriculture," said Bullock, whose other children, Curtis, 16, and Emma, 13, are active in 4-H. "I think that her mission will be helping others who don't know much about agriculture gain a better understanding."
A math education major at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., Bullock plans to become a teacher like her mother and her father, Fred Bullock. Along with the title and a tiara, she will receive a scholarship and about $6,500.
During the fair, Bullock will present prizes and mingle with the public and officials. Throughout the year she will be called on to represent the state at various events.
Edie Bernier, a spokeswoman for the Maryland State Fair, said Bullock has wowed everyone with her poise and grace.
"She is just an excellent spokesperson," Bernier said. "She's able to talk with people her age, with adults and with politicians. She's just very articulate."
Mickey Day, president of the Howard County Fair Association, pronounced the win "fantastic" and said Bullock is an ideal candidate for farm queen.
"She just handles herself really well in public," Day said.
It's that public, Bullock said, that makes her position so meaningful.
"I think it's a great opportunity," Bullock said. "Agriculture is such an important part of our everyday life."