Pageant is a dream come true for Alina
Patti Sells | News-Telegram Feature Editor

June 24, 2005 - Being crowned the new Dairy Festival Queen Saturday night at the 46th Annual Hopkins County Dairy Festival Pageant was a wish come true for Alina Tatum.

“I can’t believe it,” said Tatum, the 17-year-old daughter of Lewis and Michelle Tatum of Sulphur Springs. “I’m very surprised. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to compete with. It’s just been a great experience — building floats, milking cows and now this.”

The talented, brown-eyed beauty, sponsored in the pageant by Guaranty Bond Bank, can now add winning the coveted Dairy Festival title to her already long list of achievements, which include performing in a Hollywood musical stage production, “The Last of the Honky Tonk Angels;” acting in a guest appearance on the soap opera“Days of Our Lives;” the overall talent winner at the American Talent Showcase in South Carolina; and singing at the 2001 Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C., just to name a few.

“At 17, I have seen and done things I never thought possible,” she stated during the evening gown and interview portion of the pageant. “I’ve traveled many places and met lots of people. I have always believed it’s not what’s on the outside that makes a person special-- it’s what’s on the inside that really counts.”

Tatum, who will be a senior at Sulphur Springs High School this fall, has remained a down to earth, hometown girl in spite of all of her successes, according to friends.

After graduating from high school, Tatum plans to not only further her singing and acting career, but also plans to attend college in hopes of one day becoming an agriculture teacher.

As the winner of the Hopkins County Dairy Festival Pageant, Tatum received a $1,000 scholarship, a pewter tray and one dozen red roses, along with the honor, the crown and representing the dairy families of Hopkins County for the year.

Jessica Lewis, the 16-year-old daughter of Charles and Diana Lewis of Sulphur Springs, was named first runner-up and awarded a $750 scholarship, a pewter tray and six red roses. Lewis, who was sponsored by City National Bank, was also the recipient of the Stephanie Longino Davidson Talent Scholarship in the amount of $500 for her lively musical skit “I Enjoy Being a Girl.”

Candace Van Winkle, the daughter of Robert and Joyce VanWinkle of Sulphur Springs, walked away with a $500 scholarship, a pewter tray and three red roses, as the second runner-up. She was also bestowed the honor of being named Miss Congeniality by her peers.

The third runner-up, and recipient of a $250 scholarship, a pewter tray and 3 red roses, was Breiann Birchfield, the daughter of Howard and Teresa Birchfield of Sulphur Springs. Birchfield was sponsored in the pageant by Mother’s Culture Club.

The Sweepstakes Award for the best float went to the team made up of Alina Tatum, Candace VanWinkle and Breiann Birchfield. The girls theme for their float was “Milk, the Heavenly Drink.”

Starlight awards for mini-floats went to first place winners, Spencer Brewer, son of Kristi and Brandon Brewer; and Rachel Folmar, daughter of Lari and Mark Folmar, for their mini-float with the theme “The Stars at Night are Big and Bright, Deep in the Heart of Hopkins.”

Second place went to Zackery Burgin, son of Julie and Brad Burgin, and Valori Voorheese, daughter of Lori and Chris Voorheese; third went to Mason and Cameron Burgin, twins of Teffany and Corey Burgin, and Anna and Avery Voss, twins of Randall and Pam Voss. A special award went to Alyson Vaughn and D’Idrec Dugan for their ambulance mini-float with the theme, “Reach for a Star, Reach for a Cure.” Robbin and Bryan Vaughn, Catisha Debase and Damon Dugan are these youngsters’ parents.

Ticket sale awards were presented to Breiann Birchfield, who won first place for selling 250 tickets, and second place went to Alina Tatum, who sold 202 tickets.

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