SPARTANSBURG — Two Spartansburg sisters created history Monday night when Leah Cox won the title of 2009 Spartansburg Community Fair Queen.

Big sister Rachel Cox, the 2008 Spartansburg Community Fair Queen, had the honor of presenting her with the crown.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever had a big sister crown a little sister,” pageant emcee Ashley (Frink) Hellyer told audience members.

Fair officials later confirmed this was indeed a first for the pageant to have a reigning queen hand down the title to a sister.

And that sister is ready to fill some big shoes.

“I’m going to do the best I can to outshine my sister,” Leah Cox said to the audience.

As the winner, Leah Cox will receive a $250 college scholarship from the fair and a $2,000 scholarship from the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville.

She will also travel to Hershey in January to compete for the title of Pennsylvania State Fair Queen.

In addition to the Queen title, Leah Cox was also named Miss Photogenic.

Amanda Cox, 18, and Leah Cox, 17, are the daughters of Steven and Amanda Cox.

Winning the 2009 Princess title was Zoey Elizabeth Howell, the daughter of Mike and Lacey Merrill.

She was crowned by 2008 Princess Morgan Monk.

Howell, 8, also received an award for winning Miss Photogenic.

“I’m very, very excited,” Howell said after being crowned. “I’m excited to go to all the fairs.”

Runners-up in the Queen pageant were Rosalie Barbish, 17, first runner-up; and Tiffany Klakamp, 16, second runner-up.

Barbish is the daughter of Bob and Rhonda Hopkins, and Doug Barbish. Klakamp is the daughter of Tracee Klakamp.

Also in the Queen contest, the Miss Congeniality award — which is voted on by the contestants — went to Amanda Peterson, 17, daughter of Ryan Peterson and Laurie Cox.

Best Essay went to Queen contestant Kaitlyn Rose Marie Gorhey, 16, daughter of Dawn and Corey Northrop.

Runners-up in the Princess pageant were Hannah Chelton, 6, first runner-up; and Katelynn Shade, 9, second runner-up.

Chelton, the daughter of Paul and Christine Chelton, was also named Miss Congeniality.

Shade is the daughter of Theresa Baccus and Les Shade.

As official fair representatives, Howell and Leah Cox will have several opportunities over the next year to travel and promote Spartansburg.

The duo will also participate in several hometown events, including Saturday’s fair parade that rolls through the downtown at 11 a.m.

See the Journal's Tuesday, September 8th edition for full story.

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