Eleven-year-old Emily Kimball has been called “a picky eater,” on more than one occasion. But, when it came to chowing down on a plate full of kolaches during the 42nd annual West Fest in West, the petite 4-foot-tall sixth-grader proved to be a force to be reckoned with for the second consecutive year.

Kimball won third in the contest last year as the reigning Preteen Miss Five Hills.

As the Copperas Cove Five Hills Ambassador this year, Kimball was determined to at least make it into the top three finalists again in the West Fest Kolache Eating Contest girls 12 and under category.

“I enjoyed winning second place in the girls kolache eating contest,” Kimball said. “I also tried some traditional Czech food and learned about the Czech heritage. I learned about their attire and the beautiful dresses and clothing they wear.”

Clad in their kroji, the national dress of the Czech Republic, the Copperas Cove Five Hills royalty rolled through the streets of West waving to the hundreds of people who lined the parade route.

The theme of this year’s parade was Million Dollar Polka. The city parade float was decked out in polka-dots with dollar signs embossed on them.

Following the motorized parade, the titleholders were the culminating reveal in West Fest’s Annual Parade of Costumes in the main amphitheater.

Introducing themselves as representatives of the city of Copperas Cove, the royalty shared their names and city titles before walking the amphitheater floor modeling their Kroji.

Young Miss Five Hills Allyssa Kimball said her favorite part of Westfest was wearing traditional dresses at the motorized parade and amphitheater costume parade.

“I loved seeing the beautiful costumes worn by Miss West Fest and others attending the festival. (The royalty) represented the city of Copperas Cove in the West Fest Parade of Costumes where we got to see many authentic dresses and outfits,” Allyssa Kimball said.

Not to be outdone by her younger sister, Emily Kimball, who ate one and a half kolaches to capture second place in the girls eating contest, the high school freshman wasted no time gobbling up the plate of pastries in the kolache eating contest.

“I was nervous to participate in the women’s division of the kolache eating contest. But, I had a strategy and it paid off because I got third place after eating close to four kolaches,” the 14-year-old said.

Allyssa Kimball dunked her kolaches in cups of water before stuffing them in her mouth and then washing them down with a drink of water.

The winner ate four full kolaches and had started on her fifth pastry when the three minute time allotment ran out.

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