Russell County residents have another reason to celebrate. A few months ago, their own Tara Conner won Miss USA. Last night she placed fourth runner-up in Miss Universe. Tara has accomplished a lot. But to most who know her, she's achieved even more.
"When she was a little girl in pageants, I thought what a cute little girl. Then I became friends with her and her mom. She's just Tara to me." remembers close friend Carrie Jones.
Tara Conner is no stranger to being in the spotlight. She won Miss Kentucky USA in December. Then added another crown to her collection when she became the first Kentucky woman to ever become Miss USA.
"I never doubted her in anything she chose to do. But when she won Miss USA, I got sick. I'm thinking, here's this little girl I've known forever from Russell County who is now Miss USA."
That title led Tara to an international stage with more than 80 contestants from around the globe. Family members say Tara knew what kind of competition she was up against in Miss Universe.
"She wanted to make the top five and she got what she wanted, " says Tara's uncle, Mike Conner.
"She's very humble and very grounded. She knows how lucky she is. But she's still good ole' Tara."
Russell County is proud of Tara Conner.
Now their anticipation is no longer for crowns and sashes, but for Tara to come home where her dream first began.