She's All That!
Democrat Photo by Rob Potter
QUEEN: Miss Monticello Raceway 2000
Ariella Riposta of Sussex NJ (second from left),
smiles after her coronation on Sunday. Others in
photo, from the left, are second runner-up Maria
Golodner of NYC, first runner-up Jodi Pruttis of
Newburgh. and 1999 Miss Monticello Raceway
Martina Jakova of Slovakia, who works at Nashopa
Camp in Bloomingburg.
Miss Monticello Crowned
By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO July 25, 2000 The action at
Monticello Raceway Sunday afternoon featured a little bit
Aside from the days races, spectators were treated
to pageants that included cute little girls, beautiful
young women and ugly drivers.
Prior to the finals of the $25,000 Ms. Monticello Raceway
Beauty Pageant, 20 young area girls competed for a top
prize of $1,000 in the Little Miss Monticello Raceway
And a dozen of the raceways drivers vied for the
coveted title of Ugly Driver.
In the main event, Arielle Riposta of Sussex, NJ captured
the title of Ms. Monticello Raceway 2000. Jodi Pruttis,
29, of Newburgh captured the first runner-up trophy and
$2,500 and Maria Golodner of New York City was chosen as
the second runner-up. Golodner, 27, won a trophy and
Riposta and Pruttis were the last two contenders for the
crown, so, as sponsor/emcee Larry Roman had promised
during the July 16 preliminary round, the winner was
chosen based upon audience reaction. While Pruttis
received a spirited round of applause and cheers,
Ripostas crowd response was decidedly louder.
Riposta also finished just ahead of Pruttis on the
judges scorecards. The five judges Sullivan
County Democrat reporter John Emerson, Newburgh Housing
Commissioner John Giudice, raceway driver Alan Hoffman,
1999 Ms. Monticello Raceway Martina Jacova and Sportseye
racing forum assistant editor Ken Walters gave
Riposta a final score of 88, compared to an 84 for
Pruttis and Golodners 83.
This is a huge surprise, said a smiling
Riposta. All of these women did a wonderful job and
they are all beautiful. I was not expecting to win, this
is a wonderful surprise.
Riposta, 22, is a part-time student at Sussex County
Community College and works as a reporter and fill-in
anchor at WMBC-TV 63 in Newton, NJ.
She is also no stranger to beauty pageants. Riposta said
she has competed in pageants since the age of seven and
has participated in competitions for the Miss America and
Miss USA organizations. In fact, last month, Riposta
captured fourth runner-up honors at the Miss New Jersey
America Pageant and won the swimsuit competition.
As for her monetary prize, Riposta said she will deposit
it in the bank and probably use it for my
And she is excited to be representing Monticello Raceway.
Im very thrilled, I want to welcome everyone
to the raceway, Riposta commented. I want to
make the people aware of everything we have to offer here
at Monticello Raceway.
In promoting the raceway, Riposta will help present
trophies and flowers to winning drivers and their horses
as well as have her photo appear in advertisements and
Jacova, who returned to her native Slovakia over the
winter and did some modeling, said she enjoyed her time
as Ms. Monticello Raceway.
It was fun, she said. Im happy
that I had the chance to do it.
Two Sullivan County women Andrea Grastataro of
Smallwood and Kassandra DeMondo of White Lake were
among the nine finalists who did not capture one of the
three top spots.
The Little Miss
The majority of entrants in the Little Miss Monticello
Raceway Pageant were from Sullivan County, however. The
winner was five-year-old Autumn Cuthbert of Monroe.
Eight-year-old Courtney Neal of Mountaindale was chosen
as the first runner-up and four-year-old Courtney Hannold
of Loch Sheldrake earned second runner-up honors.
This is the first time she has ever done something
like this, said Autumns mother Jen Cuthbert,
who competed in the preliminary round of the Ms.
Monticello Raceway Pageant. I just figured it would
be something fun for her to do. She did great.
Sullivan County girls who competed in the pageant
included: Mariah Brickhouse, Claudia Brown, Millie Cohen,
Laura Doherty, Failien Dungy, Taylor Gianquinto, Lauren
Katz, Sharon Major, Christina Rossi, Johanna Santiago,
Angela Stephenson and Taylor Welch.
The Ugly Driver
Alan Hoffman, with a mohawk haircut that appeared to have
been recently dyed blue, won the afternoons Ugly
Driver contest. He captured the honor and the $1,000
prize over fellow drivers Tom Colucci, Mike Cruise, Mike
Doherty, Peter Lutman, Jr., P. J. Lutman III, Dave
Marshall, Jimmy Morrill, Scott Scofield, Jimmy Shields,
Ed Smith and Chris Tully.
Hoffman may have unknowingly predicted his victory while
chatting with Roman, who asked Hoffman and every other
contestant why they had entered the Ugly Driver contest
or why they thought they could win.
My nickname is Ugly, Hoffman said
with a grin.