10/10/10 — Sasser 'always' fire princess to her grandfather

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Sasser 'always' fire princess to her grandfather

By Laura Collins
Published in News on October 10, 2010 1:50 AM

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The winners of the 2010 Wayne County Fire Princess Pageant Saturday were, from left, Janna Price, second runner-up; Casey Croom, third runner-up; 2009 Fire Princess Sara Boltinhouse; 2010 Fire Princess Monica Sasser; Elizabeth Rowe, first runner-up; Taylor Forrest, fourth runner-up; and Casey Scarboro, Miss Congeniality.

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2009 Fire Princess Sara Boltinhouse, left, crowns 2010 Fire Princess Monica Sasser, who represented Patetown Fire Department.

Monica Sasser was visibly shocked when her name was announced as the 2010 Wayne County Fire Princess Saturday night.

Her shocked expression quickly turned into smiles and tears as she accepted her crown, flowers and bouquet, and cheers filled the auditorium at The Paramount Theatre.

After photos and congratulatory hugs, Monica, who represented the Patetown Fire Department, reflected on the importance of her win.

"My grandaddy was a firefighter for Patetown for over 50 years," she said. "I did this for him."

Her grandfather, Frankie Person, signed her up for the pageant several months ago.

"He told me when I was little I was going to be a fire princess," she said. "This is the most exciting thing of my life."

Though Person wasn't there to see his granddaughter win the crown, he passed away only three months ago, family members said he knew Monica had it in her.

"She was always a fire princess in his eyes," said Monica's aunt, Peggy Person.

Her mother, Lynn Sasser, agreed.

"My dad passed away in July and he was buried with a fireman's honor," Mrs. Sasser said. "(He and Monica) used to talk and joke about her being a fire princess, and now she is."

The girls took the stage individually during the talent and costume competition at the beginning of the pageant, which is sponsored by the Wayne County Firemen's Association. Talent accounts for 50 percent of their total score and must involve fire safety education, while costume accounts for 30 percent of the total score. They also are judged on evening gown, which includes a question about fire safety and is worth 20 percent of the total score.

For Monica's talent and costume she dressed as Fire Barbie and performed a skit about her castle catching on fire and the necessary steps to take.

The other girls also incorporated creativity into their talent. Katlyn Casey, who represented the El-Roy Fire Department, dressed up as the Addams Family's Wednesday and lectured Lurch on the importance of not overloading outlets. Her skit was equipped with her own version of the Addams Family theme song that substituted the snaps in the song with beeps from a fire alarm.

Casey Croom, who represented the Nahunta Fire Department, dressed as the rabbit from Alice and Wonderland and tap danced while explaining the importance of grilling safety through rhyme.

Madeline Smith, who represented the Saulston Fire Department, sang her own "Firemen are a Girl's Best Friend" to the tune of "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" while wearing a hot pink gown.

And Janna Price, who represented the Pricetown Fire Department, dressed as Judy Jetson and came in a UFO to teach Earthlings about indoor and outdoor fire safety.

Overall there were 11 contestants in the running for the fire princess title. Casey Scarboro, who represented the Pikeville-Pleasant Grove Fire Department, won the Miss Congeniality award. First runner-up was Elizabeth Rowe, who represented the Mar-Mac Fire Department. Second runner-up was Janna Price. Third runner-up was Casey Croom. And fourth runner-up was Taylor Forrest, who represented the Belfast Fire Department.

Other participants included: Katlyn Casey, Brittany Carmack, who represented the Arrington Fire Department, Madeline Smith, Amanda Rouse, who represented the Seven Springs Fire Department, and Hope Shivar, who represented the Indian Springs Fire Department.

Pageant Director Shari Stewart was also honored at the event, which marked 25 years she's been with the Fire Princess Pageant. She credited the people working with her behind the scenes with the pageant's success and was especially excited about this year's contestants.

"I was very proud of all these girls," she said. "For most of the contestants, this is their one and only pageant for the year. We want it to be special for them. They don't have to have a crown on their heads to be a winner. Just walking on the stage, they're a winner."

She also commented on Monica being named 2010 Fire Princess.

"She is adorable. I know this really means a lot to her especially after losing her grandfather," Mrs. Stewart said. "She's going to make a wonderful Fire Princess."