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Zaya White of Loyalton (Left). Rosemary Balbiani of Indian Valley (Center). Chyanne Morrison of Quincy (RIght).

Sweethearts of the Mountains Scholarship Competition set

The Plumas Sierra County Fair Foundation announced the 2020 edition of the Sweetheart of the Mountains Scholarship Competition.

Three exceptional young ladies have stepped forward to join the many Plumas and Sierra County girls who have competed for the title since the mid-1940s.

This competition is open to young women, ages 16 to 20, who are residents of Plumas or Sierra counties. The competition is an opportunity for contestants to enhance and showcase their own abilities and poise at a stage performance on Saturday, May 16, at the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds. It is a scholarship competition based on positive attributes that reflect well on the area.

The performance will take place as part of the Rhythm and Grace Dance Studio presentation in Serpilio Hall.

Candidates compete in three areas: talent, poise and fundraising. Each will perform their talent during the evening, as well as display their poise by how they carry themselves and answer a random question on stage. Fundraising is already underway.

Proceeds benefit the PSCF Foundation, a nonprofit that exists to promote and improve the Plumas Sierra County Fairgrounds. Fifty percent of money raised goes to the Foundation, while the other 50 percent is for each contestant’s future education.

The girl named 2020 Sweetheart of the Mountains receives a $1,000 scholarship from the Foundation, and the runner-up receives $500.

A panel of judges give scores during the performance in talent and poise. Points for fundraising are based on the placement of how much each girl raises. Fundraising represents the smallest percentage of the total score used to crown a winner.

Over $120,000 has been raised by the PSCF Foundation and has been used to purchase equipment, fund programs and advertise at the fairgrounds. The Sweetheart of the Mountains Competition has been a big part of that accomplishment.

The contestants are required to represent the Fair during the competition, and the girls will appear in parades and other community events in the time leading up to the 2020 Plumas-Sierra County Fair. Each contestant is also required to make a presentation before the performance to a civic organization in her community.

Zaya White

From Loyalton comes Zaya White. She is a senior at Loyalton High School and plans on attending Butte College in the fall and studying radiology.

This All-League athlete plans on playing basketball at Butte, but is also on the soccer and softball teams in Loyalton. She trap shoots and enjoys the outdoors — running, hiking, fishing and hunting.

Zaya is an honor roll student and has been active in 4-H and FFA her entire life, showing swine. She has held many leadership positions in her community and was selected as LHS Homecoming Queen this year.

She says she cherishes her memories of the Plumas-Sierra County Fair, especially the new friends she makes each year and how helpful and kind everyone is to one another.

Zaya has some Sweetheart of the Mountains lineage; her great grandmother, Betty Carmichael (Ceresola), was Plumas County Fair Queen in 1948. That was what the competition was called until former fair manager Tulsa Scott renamed the event in 1954.

Rosemary Balbiani

Rosemary Balbiani of Indian Valley is another contestant. She also has a lifetime relationship with the Plumas-Sierra County Fair as part of the Indian Valley 4-H club.

Rosemary is a senior at Greenville Jr./Sr. High School and is active in sports, music and academics. This honor roll student and science fair winner plays alto saxophone and has a deep commitment to community service works.

Her passions include showing horses and rodeo. In fact, she currently holds the title of Miss California High School Rodeo Association District One Queen, a title she has held twice.

Her future plans include attending a four-year university and studying to become a registered nurse. Eventually she hopes to work in a hospital on a NICU floor, or pediatrics.

Rosemary’s fondest feelings toward the Fair are the great friends she’s made and the memories of showing animals.

Chyanne Morrison

Finally, from Quincy High School comes senior Chyanne Morrison. Chyanne is a leader in her school and the community. She has been chosen as a representative to Girl’s State, held numerous class and school-wide offices, and been selected as QHS Homecoming Queen.

Athletics play a big part in her life and she has been selected as an All-League athlete five times. Very few days go by without Chyanne helping at community suppers, the Children’s Fair, clean-up days at the fair, promoting the Angel Gift Tree and dozens of other community activities.

She shows steers at the fair and has also been a leader of the American Valley 4-H club. She likes that the fair provides all kinds of opportunities for community engagement with its many events.

Chyanne is thinking about attending school next fall in Idaho and studying to become a teacher, and possibly moving on to educational administration.

What’s next

The girls will be out in the community over the next few months raising money and spreading the news about the 2020 Plumas-Sierra County Fair and its theme, “Young at Heart.”

The Sweetheart of the Mountains Competition is held in conjunction with the annual Rhythm and Grace Dance Studio showcase. The performance will be held in Serpilio Hall at the Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 16. For tickets, contact Wendy Yates at Rhythm and Grace Dance Studio, 258-6792.

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