PORTSMOUTH — Saturday evening of the 2021 River Days events was the Miss River Days 2021 pageant, where a packed house of friends and family came to cheer on their River Days’ Candidates for the crowning. At the end of the night, Miss Minford, Isabella Reffit was crowned ironically by last year’s Miss Minford and Miss River Days, Ezra Veach.
Not only was the back-to-back win for “Miss Minford” unusual, but Reffit’s sister, Tori, had won Miss River Days five years before.
Reffit said she even wore Tori’s dress for the crowning ceremony.
“I really just put my best foot forward and tried my hardest and really went out there and gave my all. My sister and me are two completely different people, we are night and day, we are so different. It was my journey, not hers but I was super excited to follow in her footsteps and wear her dress. I absolutely fell in love with it, I had actually saved it for prom, but when I got Miss Minford, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to show it off again,” Reffit said. “I was super pumped about winning best dress again.”
Reffit said that all or most of her family and friends were in attendance on Saturday evening.
“I’ve always had an awesome support system from family and friends both and feel fortunate for both.”
Reffit talked about going to future parades and things to represent Miss River Days and what she wants to promote and do.
“I’d like to talk to the other queens from other festivals and things and be able to tell them about the captivating murals, the boat races, the live music and all the talented people we have here in Portsmouth and get them interested and intrigued to come down to Scioto County and Portsmouth and see what we really have to offer,” she said.
Reffit’s platform this year was leaving a lasting legacy that focuses on how people want themselves or their impact to be remembered. “
“My dad inspired me for this, he was born and raised in Mexico until he was 13, he was then adopted and brought to America and without the people who brought him here, it wouldn’t be possible for him to be here today. I want people to know that no matter where you come from, who your family is, or your background, you have the chance and opportunity to leave whatever kind of legacy you want to leave, you may not be able to change the whole world but one act of kindness can change someone’s world.”
As far as what she wants to accomplish this year as a senior and Miss River Days, Reffit said, “Definitely spreading awareness about my platform as a whole, letting people know what they can leave as a legacy, I want to encourage others to be their awesome selves, sometimes it’s okay to be different and stand out in ways that other people may not stand out, and that being different is what should bring us together, not tear us apart.”
Reffit won best float among pageant participants in the parade earlier in the day and also won the best dress award. She did say that the float took a long time and that she and her family worked on it every day since May, along with her boyfriend, Levi Martin and his family, who she says were such a big help.
Chosen as First Runner-up for the 2021 River Days Festival was Miss Notre Dame Madison Brown. Brown said it was an amazing feeling to place among the top-two contestants during this year’s pageant.
“I thought when I was walking out of the interview that I had done the best that I could I was so excited, I hugged my pageant mom and said, ‘I got this’. I thought that after I was in the top five that this would be a really fun experience if I made the top two place, after Miss West had won 2nd Runner-up,” Brown said. “Whenever they announced my name I just went blank, it was an amazing feeling. I worked for seven months to get here and it all finally paid off and it was absolutely incredible.”
Brown said she is looking forward to working and growing closer to the other two girls and how they’ll represent Scioto County as a group.
“We all three have to stick together to represent Portsmouth and I’m excited to learn about the other festivals and educate other about River Days,” Brown said. “I am so blessed to get this opportunity, I didn’t think I would be here but I’m so glad that I am.”
Chosen as Second Runner-Up was Miss West Madison Russell. Russell said it was a surreal feeling being chosen as a Top-3 contestant.
“It was such a surreal feeling, I felt that all the hard work I had put in with the float and the pageant was paying off. It was a great feeling.”
Russell was crowned by last year’s 2nd runner-up, 2020 Miss West, Sydney Carter.
Russell’s platform was Find Hope-Cope, Don’t Hide Behind a Smile, which is implementing strategies with a social dilemma that many teenager faces. She said that with that final interview, she felt her most confident because this was where she could not feel happier with her response.
Russell said she the support of her family as friends was overwhelming and that she is looking forward to working with Brown and Reffit in representing Scioto County.
“I’m super excited to travel with the other girls and tell them what River Days is about and what we stand for and what we represent,” she said.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved