Miss Fulton County 2014

GLOVERSVILLE – Emily Stegeland bent down in a black, crystal-accented gown on the stage of Gloversville High School’s auditorium Saturday night to receive her Miss Fulton County 2014 crown.

“I still can’t believe I won,” she said. “I’m in shock, I was never expecting this.”

Stegeland, a Gloversville native, said she’s been competing in pageants for years but this was her first time competing in the Miss Fulton County pageant.

“Winning Miss Fulton County is a big deal,” she said. “This is a great feeling, and I’m honestly very proud of myself.”

Stegeland, who competed against six other contestants, was the winner of a $4,000 scholarship.

Baylee Simpson won first runner-up and $1,000. She also won the talent award for $250 for her ballet performance and the interview award of $250 for her answer to the question of whether the government is doing a good job protecting the country, to which she responded “yes, even though some of the things they do we don’t agree with.”

Devyn Clute won second runner-up and $500. She said this was her first pageant ever, and was very happy Stegeland won.

“I’m definitely happy for Emily; after this experience we’ve become friends and it’s great that she won,” she said.

Simpson said that all seven contestants grew very close over the month-long period of practicing.

“You get to know each other a lot during pageants and we all worked really well together,” Simpson said.

Stegeland said she plans on using her title as Miss Fulton County 2014 to continue helping girls with disabilities learn how to dance.

“I teach dance at Creative Dance Studio [in Johnstown] for girls with disabilities and that’s what I really want to continue doing,” she said. “Dancing is my passion and I plan on continuing it and helping others as well.”

Stegeland’s passion for dance was noticeable when she gave a ballet performance to a cover version of Leonard Cohen’s famous song “Hallelujah” during the talent segment of the pageant.

Other awards announced by Master and Mistress of Ceremonies, Mike Bellotti and Lisa McCoy, respectively, included Miss Congeniality, which Misty-Lynn Hilts won, and the Community Spirit award, which Heather Graves won.

Katelynn Smith, Miss Fulton County 2013, said Saturday night was bittersweet.

“I’m sad that I have to give up my title and move on,” she said, “but I’m happy Emily won. She’s grown so much in the years and I think she’s great for Miss Fulton County.”