"Wow, this is big for my head," she said, trying to balance the tall, sparkling tiara. "I'm grateful, though. Really, really grateful."
For Clark, the long wait before the announcement wasn't nearly so nerve-wracking as the competition itself.
"When I walked off that stage when it was all over, I thought 'Whew! I'm done,'" she said. "It was just such a relief to be done."
Clark had nothing but good things to say about her fellow contestants.
"This contest was really fun," she said. "We had such an amazing group of girls, and we meshed really well."
Clark, 19, said she waited until completing her 10th year in 4-H to enter the queen contest.
"I took a lot of other projects," she said. "I wanted to be able to give this my all."
Clark said she was "in shock" and "so excited."
"I really want to thank my friends, my family and God," she said.
Clark was crowned by Cheryl Mitchel, Miss Putnam County 2008. Mitchel called her year as a titleholder "absolutely wonderful," and cited "free food and ice cream" as a couple of her favorite perks.
"At the state fair, I met so many wonderful girls and had an absolute blast," Mitchel said. "Here in Putnam County, I made lifelong friends on the court."
Mitchel lauded the efforts of the 2009 contestants.
"We had one who came to rehearsals even though she had tonsillitis, one who had a bee sting that led to crutches and one who had poison ivy," she said. "All I can say is, judges, I'm glad I'm not in your shoes. They are all amazing and all deserve something."
Mitchel said traveling to other county fairs and going to the state fair reinforced in her mind how good the fair in Putnam County is.
"We really have something special here," she said.
Other members of the 2009 court included first runner-up Kristen Fry, second runner-up Bailey Birt, third runner-up Sammi Jo Gardner, fourth runner-up Logan Doyle and Miss Congeniality Elizabeth Wiley.
Best Formal Wear honors went to Clark, while Birt was named Best Professional Wear winner.
A gallery of photos from the pageant will be posted Sunday at www.bannergraphic.com.