GREENVILLE — The Miss Annie Oakley shooting competition kicked off the festival.
The Annie Oakley Days Festival is a family-friendly festival in honor of Darke County’s most famous daughter, Annie Oakley. The Festival will run from July 29 through 31 and will feature live entertainment including western acts, cowboy mounted shooting, musical performances.
Annie Oakley advocated for women to learn a sport primarily dominated by men, and today this advocacy is honored every year at the Annie Oakley Festival. To start out Annie Oakley Days, the Festival hosts a Miss Annie Shooting Competition the Wednesday and Thursday before the opening of the festival at the fairgrounds complete with costumes.
2021 Miss Annie Oakley, Paige Brewer, says one of her favorite memories about being the 2021 Miss Annie Oakley is the hug she got from her friend, Morgan Hissong, 2018-2019 Miss Annie Oakley, after she had won the title. She says Hissong truly embodied the essence of Annie during the 2018 competition going further than just being a competitor.
“She helped me shoot. She was always there,” Brewer said. “Whenever someone was freaking out, she would fist bump you or something, and it helped you calm down.”
Brewer said Hissong did not care if you were up against her, she would give tips on how to improve so the contestants would have a good chance of winning.
In a 2018 Daily Advocate article, Hissong said, “I like the image Annie has on Darke County. She was a good role model. I like to think I possess some of those same qualities, and I like to think that makes my family proud.”
The Miss Annie Oakley competition means more than winning and bragging rights, it is a way to truly embody the advocacy Annie Oakley dedicated her life to.
“Annie was the first female shooter, and she was there to teach the world that no matter your gender, you can do whatever men do just as well if not better,” Brewer said.
Brewer says during her reign as Annie, she got to represent who Annie Oakley was and had the opportunity to show little girls how men and women are equal. She also said she embodies Annie’s infamous quote,
”Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.”
She advised future contestants to not give up and to stay relaxed. She says even if you don’t hit it the first time, you always have that second chance to hit it again.
“And if it doesn’t go good that year, you always …..
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