Emily Choate Wins Sweetheart of the Mountains Title


Times are changing. Most of the time, change is good, and we think that is the case with the Sweetheart of the Mountains scholarship competition. We have all rolled our eyes at old newspaper clippings listing the weight and measurements of 17-year-old girls, and we are pretty sure no one wants to go back to those days. However, Sweetheart of the Mountains is one of the fond symbols of the Plumas Sierra County Fair, and while we don’t want to base decisions on a young person’s physical attributes, we do want to highlight the brightest and best our fair has to offer. Every year, hundreds of intelligent, community-minded, ambitious, and impressive young people participate in the fair, and we want to continue that recognition.

To that end, organizers of the Sweetheart of the Mountains scholarship competition have decided to continue to offer a scholarship of $500 to students in Plumas and Sierra Counties, based on an essay about “Why should you become involved in your county fair?” Those that are awarded the scholarship will still be expected to represent the fair by greeting visitors at the front gate and appearing in the annual Fair Parade. The title of Sweetheart of the Mountains will continue to be bestowed on the winner as a connection to the dozens of previous winners who were far more than just pretty faces. Who knows what form the competition will take in decades to come; but the current stewards of the competition have complete faith that future organizers will continue to find ways to highlight our youth in a positive way.
The 2024 competition had many young people from both counties express their thoughts on the essay topic. All were insightful and represented many different perspectives on why one should get involved in their county fair. All entries were fine students and heavily involved in their schools and communities. One in particular rose to the top with personal experiences and excellent writing. The 2024 Sweetheart of the Mountains is Emily Choate of Quincy High School who painted a vivid picture of her involvement with the fair over her lifetime and how that could relate to someone who may not have had the same experiences.

Emily has been heavily involved in theater, 4H, and volunteering for many different causes in Quincy. She will be attending Feather River College in the Fall and wants to obtain a dual degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Agricultural Studies. Her plans are to obtain an EMT Certification and to pursue a career based on her studies.

The Sweetheart of the Mountains Scholarship is conducted by the PSCF Foundation, the non-profit that works for the betterment of the Plumas Sierra County Fair. The committee that reviewed and judged this year’s entries was extremely pleased with the number and quality of the entries.


Information submitted by John Steffanic, Plumas-Sierra County Fair Manager