Erin McMahon crowned Brussels Ambassador in IPM year - Aug. 17, 2017
BY DENNY SCOTT
The second time was the charm for Bluevale’s Erin McMahon in the annual Brussels Ambassador contest.
McMahon was crowned ambassador at the end of the competition on Aug. 12 at the Brussels Legion, beating out three other competitors for the title.
Jasmine Vader was named runner up for this year’s ambassador competition while Emily Bieman was named Junior Ambassador and Casey Bernard won the Little Ambassador sash.
“It feels amazing,” she said. “I’m very much looking forward to a busy year. I’m very excited that the fall fair will be at the International Plowing Match this year.”
McMahon will be representing the Brussels Agricultural Society at the IPM and opening the fair, which is being held at the IPM site in Walton to mark the occasion of the 100th IPM. She said she looks forward to the chance for Brussels to shine on a larger stage than usual.
“It’s going to be a completely new experience where more than just citizens from Brussels will be present and aware of us,” she said. “There will be people from bigger cities coming down that get to see what Brussels has to offer.”
She ran this year after receiving the runner-up nod last year to Patti Blake, one of the people she credits with her decision to run again.
“I was considering running again, but I was working full-time, so I wasn’t sure if I could devote enough time to being ambassador,” she said. “I’ll be going back to school this year, so that gives me some more options to represent Brussels at different events… I have to thank Nicole Noble for encouraging me to do this again and Patti Blake for also encouraging me.”
McMahon said her mother and grandmother were also big proponents of her being in the competition and said their unconditional support was crucial in the win.
Her experience in the competition last year definitely helped her prepare for this year, she said, both in the specific experience of the interviews speeches and in being more comfortable with herself.
“This year I had a lot more confidence in what I was doing,” she said. “I felt it went a lot smoother. Knowing what was going to happen with the speeches and the interviews helped, but I was just able to settle and focus and that made everything easier.”
McMahon originally got involved thanks to a call from then-ambassador Tiffany Deitner and, with the experience she has had thus far, she’s glad she answered the phone.
“I talked to my mom after and she thought it was a good idea,” she said.
While she hasn’t started her official duties, aside from photo sessions at the event and a brief thank-you speech, she said what lies before her is a great opportunity, but also a great responsibility. She said anyone looking to follow in her footsteps should be aware of that.
“I would recommend that anyone looking to compete first take the time to understand what the ambassador program is about,” she said. “It’s not a program to be taken lightly. It’s a lot of commitment, but if there is any interest at all, it’s definitely a worthwhile experience.”
After a decade at the helm of the ambassador competition, Nicole Noble announced during the ambassador contest that she would be retiring and leaving the competition in the hands of Maggie Speer and Hannah McCutcheon.
Noble thanked the Agricultural Society for letting her run the event and grow it in her own way, including the addition of the Little and Junior Ambassador contests.
She said that, with 10 years under her belt and a young family to take care of, it was time to step away from the event.