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Bell ends reign as Almond Blossom queen
Shirley Jorgensen of Soroptimist International of Ripon chats with outgoing Miss Ripon 2008 Mary Bell. - photo by HIME ROMERO
RIPON – Mary Bell knew that the crown that topped her head Thursday night wasn’t going to be there for very much longer.

As the Almond Queen Coronation ceremony drew closer to beginning, Bell – 2008’s Almond Blossom Queen selection – was lingering with the seven contestants participating this year, and taking in the last night of what has been a roller coaster ride of a year.

“It was definitely a busy year – going lots of places and representing the City of Ripon,” Bell said. “It started off pretty interesting because I was sick at the first several appearances that I had to make, but I ended up meeting some really great people along the way.”

While it would have been easy for her to remain at arms-length for the majority of this year’s Almond Queen contest, Bell was actively involved in the processes with the girls and built relationships with each and every one of them.

And they even had a group movie night.

It was on one of her representative stops that Bell realized that the town had an award for Miss Congeniality, and she immediately thought that it would be a great thing to bring back to Ripon and hand out to one of the girls that acts as the glue to bring the group together.

Naturally, it was the movie that they all watched together when hanging out one night.

“I know that whoever is the next Miss Ripon, that person will do an amazing job,” Bell said during her final remarks to the crowd. “The experience of being the queen is a great one to say the least, and tonight will definitely be a night that that person will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Bell helped secure the crown on the head of Camila Sweaney when it was announced that she would be the 2009 Miss Ripon selection – what could have technically been her final act as the outgoing Almond Queen.

But she says she’ll look back on the previous 12 months – which she also says went by way too fast – with fond memories.

“To the person who ends up winning this, I encourage them to have fun, be themselves, and not take any of it for granted because it’s all over just like that.”

Bell was just accepted to participate in the 2009 Miss Teen Sacramento Pageant.