It’s been 364 days since Karsyn Gwinnup wowed the judges at the 2016 Mini Miss Colusa County competition during the talent portion of the Mini Miss Contest.
Gwinnup, then 11 years old, belted out Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” as part of her “fire medley” routine, which helped her win the crown and the title of Mini Miss Colusa County last year. Gwinnup has continued to wow crowds with her voice at dozens of events and county fairs that took place in Colusa County and beyond since her coronation.
That was initially what Gwinnup said she was most excited about when her reign started: getting more opportunities to showcase her voice. Her position as Mini Miss Colusa County did give Gwinnup more opportunities to sing: Gwinnup’s rendition of the national anthem was a mainstay at community gatherings across Colusa County, from veterans’ events in Colusa to Maxwell Rodeo. She also got the chance to perform her “fire medley” routine at a number of surrounding county fairs, including the Glenn County Fair last month. But it isn’t any of her vocal performances that stand out as the most valuable experience from her time as Mini Miss Colusa County, Gwinnup said. Rather, it was the way that the crown – and the duties associated with it – brought the 12-year-old Maxwell resident into a closer connection with the county she lives in.
“My favorite part of my time as Mini Miss was seeing people that knew my family and having them support me. People would come up to me and tell me that they knew my parents, and it made me feel like everyone knew me,” Gwinnup said.
Gwinnup said she liked meeting other people, too, including the occasional celebrity. She said that one of the highlights of her reign was meeting Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Gwinnup will start sixth grade in the fall in Maxwell, but she said she is looking forward to enjoying a relatively relaxing summer before that.
“I’m probably going to hang out with friends and family. I’m definitely going to go swimming. I love swimming,” Gwinnup said.
The outgoing Mini Miss Colusa County had only one piece of advice for this year’s contestants: Don’t stress about the competition.
“I would tell them to just not stress about everything,” Gwinnup said. “Everyone will love you anyway.”■