Kentucky Derby Festival

Goshen’s Jones one of five
2013 Derby Princesses

Winner will be decided April 19
by lottery at Fillies Inc. Ball

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

GOSHEN, Ky. (February 2013) – Cameryn Jones thought joining the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Royal Court Program would be a great way to represent the city of Louisville. What she didn’t know was how stiff the competition would be.
“Over 100 girls applied,” said Jones, 21, of Goshen, Ky. The first hurdle candidates had to pass was a five-minute long interview with five interviewers. “This was the first round, and interviewers had to narrow it down to 21 girls,” said Jones. “It’s a tough job for them to go from 100 girls to 21 girls.”
Jones was one of the initial candidates last year but did not pass the first interview. “They look for a well-rounded group, and I was not well acquainted with the program.”

Kentucky Derby Festival Princesses

Photo courtesy of Gary Stinson, KDF

The 2013 Derby Princess are (from left) Alli Grant, Harrodsburg; Dominique Luster, Louisville; Chelsea Diamond, Louisville; Cammie Jones, Goshen; and Katie Gardner, Greenville. A winner will be drawn randomly at the Fillies Ball.

But this year she passed the test. Jones said being part of the Royal Court “is a great way to represent the city of Louisville, and Kentucky in general. It’s a great way to show people what we’re all about.”
In addition to Jones, this year’s Kentucky Derby Festival Princesses include Chelsea Diamond of Louisville; Katherine Gardner of Greenville, Ky.; Allison Grant of Harrodsburg, Ky.; and Dominique Luster of Louisville. The two alternates are Amy Bastawros and Olivia McMillen, both of Louisville.
Jones said she was excited to have been chosen. Her mother, Cindy Jones, and grandmother, Barbara Davis, are involved in The Fillies Inc., a volunteer group that works closely with the Kentucky Derby Festival and organizes the Royal Court program. Davis is a former Fillies Inc. president. “She was so excited when she found out I was a Derby princess,” Jones said.
Candidates for the program must meet several criteria to be considered a future princess or reigning queen. They must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, have knowledge of the Derby Festival, and possess poise, intelligence, personality and campus and community involvement.
The first Derby Festival Princess was crowned in 1957, a year after the festival began. Past Princesses have included former Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins and Gail Gorski, the first female pilot hired by United Airlines.
Jones recently graduated from the University of Kentucky with a major in Food Science. “Most people have not heard of a major in this field,” she said. “Many people in this career go into the food and beverage industry, focusing on research development or product development.”
Her goal is to work for a spirits or alcohol company. She recently interned with the Kentucky Distillers Association.
Jones’ hobbies include staying active. She enjoyed sports in high school and college.

Cammie Jones

Photo provided

Cammie Jones poses with
her grandmother, Barbara Davis
(left), and her mother, Cindy Jones.

Having never entered pageants before, Jones didn’t have a lot of experience in this field. But she has “known a lot of pageant girls growing up. It’s kind of neat to put on the crown and put on a big smile,” she said.
The Royal Court of five women will represent the Kentucky Derby Festival and the city of Louisville as official ambassadors for the 2013 Kentucky Derby Festival. One of the five will be crowned the Derby Festival Queen by a spin of the wheel at the annual Fillies Derby Ball, to be held this year on April 19 at the Galt House East Grand Ballroom.
“There will be more than 70 events that we will participate in,” said Jones. The Royal Court began their duties with the Poster Premier on Jan. 23 and will appear in the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade on May 2. Some of the other events they will attend include the Kentucky Oaks, the Kentucky Derby and visits to schools to discuss the importance of volunteerism.
The Derby Festival Queen “is a representative of the princesses,” said Jones. “She speaks for the others and has the same wardrobe and gets the same scholarships.” Each woman receives a $2,000 scholarship ($1,000 from The Fillies Inc. and $1,000 from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation).
The Kentucky Derby Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. It is the largest single attended event in Kentucky, entertaining more than 1.5 million people annually.

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