When it's time for a tournament, her fellow club members know Kristel Quon is more than just a pretty face.
Behind that shining smile is a seasoned veteran of bass fishing and beauty contests who has the talent to excel in both competitions. The 14-year-old beauty is the youngest daughter of Harris and Mary Quon, who stay on the run trying to keep up with the busy schedules of Kristel and her sister Kristine, also a beauty pageant winner.
Kristel has kept her parents hopping by being a dance student for 11 years, playing piano for six years and cheerleading last year for St. Ann School. She holds a black belt in tae kwon do and enjoys swimming, bowling and shopping.
However, her main pastimes now are beauty contests and bass tournaments. Her poise, talent and beauty helped her recently win the title of Miss Tennessee Junior Teen in the National American Miss pageant in Franklin, Tenn., and receive $4,500 in cash and modeling scholarships. She also competed in the Miss Memphis Most Outstanding Teen contest in December.
Although the beauty competitions fill most of her schedule now, Quon considers it a hobby. Her Sunday pastime is what she might consider doing for a living someday. "Most of the time, I am busy Monday through Saturday, but Sunday I have the day free," said Quon, who tries to spend that day fishing if she is caught up with her homework.
Quon was introduced to bass fishing by her father at a very young age. "My dad carried me in a car seat and brought me along in the boat," Quon said. She joined the Junior Bassmaster program when her cousins, Cody and Nick Quon, started taking her to some of their club meetings.
Four years ago she joined the Haywood County Junior Bass Club, the same chapter Nick Kelly honed his skills in to become a 2006 Junior Bassmaster World Champion. She has won some of her club events and qualified for two Tennessee Junior Bassmaster State Championships, finishing third in 2003 and fifth in 2004. Her fellow club members showed Quon that she had earned their respect by electing her club president in 2005.
The teen angler believes patience is a key to her tournament success. "I just pick one spot and keep going there until I catch something," she said.
The Junior Bassmaster program has been rewarding for Quon. "It's a lot of fun and I get to meet new people," she said. "It is a good experience and I get to spend some time with my father because I don't get to see him a lot."
The young lady discloses that the guys in her club never give her a hard time, but she thinks they do get "a little jealous" sometimes when she beats them in tournaments. Since she faces stiff competition in both contests, Quon is unsure whether it's tougher to win a beauty pageant or a bass tournament. "I think they are really even," she said.
The Junior Bassmaster program has helped Quon improve some skills that she relies on for her beauty contests. "I've learned from talking to people and meeting new people because I didn't really know a lot of people in my Federation," she said. "But then I got to know them by fishing in these tournaments and learned how to communicate with new people."
Her success at the Junior Bassmaster level has Quon leaning toward competing in the Women's Bassmaster Tour someday. "I would like to see how far I can get with this and all of its opportunities," she said of the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation program. "I just want to see where this will take me."
Modeling sessions at the Wilhelmina Dan Agency in Nashville, Tenn., has cut her time on the water recently, but Quon said those sessions will be ending soon so she can get back to bass fishing and spending some quality time with her dad.