Stephenson, 19, is the daughter of Aaron and Mandy Stephenson and a 2011 North Putnam graduate.
Having watched Miss Congeniality and the runners-up crowns and sashes handed out before, Stephenson said she was nervous and praying just before she heard emcee Jamie France read her contestant number.
"I was just praying they would say 'Contestant Number 6.' I was just shaking so bad, and it's amazing that I actually won," Stephenson said.
Shortly after this year's fair ends, Stephenson will head for Milligan College to pursue an exercise major. She ultimately hopes to earn a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Indianapolis.
She has some duties to fulfill at the county fair first, though.
"I love the fair and I was just so excited to be named the Putnam County Queen. It just is a dream come true," Stephenson said.
This year's court was a sweep for North Putnam's 2011 graduating class, as Stephenson is joined by former classmates Cara Stanley as first runner-up, second runner-up Megan Robinson and third runner-up and Miss Congeniality Danielle Harbison.
Stephenson said the next couple of weeks should be special because the girls are not just classmates, but close friends.
"I'm really looking forward to spending time with my court because they're three of my best friends," she said. "It's great because we've been so close through all our high school years. It's awesome that they're on the court."
Her first runner-up agreed.
"Most of my best friends are on the court, and it is going to be so much fun spending the entire fair week with them. I can't wait," Stanley said.
"I was very surprised," Stanley said. "I was sitting there thinking, there are two girls left, two amazingly beautiful girls -- there's no way it's me."
Robinson, 18, is the daughter of Roland and Melissa Robinson of Roachdale. She was a volleyball player in her high school days and plans to continue in the sport at Hanover College this fall. She has no doubt about the part of the fair that excites her most.
"Mud volleyball -- I'm so excited about mud that. They took out pig wrestling and put in mud volleyball, and I love volleyball," Robinson said.
Third runner-up Harbison also took home what many would consider the most important award -- Miss Congeniality, which is voted on by the competitors. Asked what excited her most about the week, she showed a bit of the sense of humor that endeared her to the other contestants.
"I'm excited for free food," Harbison said with a laugh, "and just to represent my county is something I've always dreamed of."
Harbison, 18, is the daughter of Bruce and Julie Harbison of Roachdale. She plans to study nursing at Ball State University.
Saturday ended the yearlong reign of Miss Putnam County 2010 Stephanie Berry, who performed her last official duty by crowning Stephenson. Having expressed what a joy the last year has been, Berry passed on a little advice to her successor.
"I would tell Paxton to enjoy her week as queen -- it goes by fast," Berry said. "Smile, take lots of pictures, and most of all, have fun and create lots of memories."