Lincoln County, Kentucky

From the Cincinnati Enquirer of April 20, 2007

One tough beauty queen

Venus Ramey, 82, shoots tire, stops intruders

Venus Ramey has earned lots of fame in her 82 years.

She was Miss America 1944 and later a candidate for Cincinnati City Council and worked to save Over-the-Rhine’s historic buildings. She performed on Broadway and in movies.

Now, though, she’s in the news for another reason.

After confronting a man she said was stealing from her Kentucky farm, Ramey pulled out a gun and shot out a tire on his truck so he couldn’t leave, allowing police to arrest him and two others.

“He was probably wetting his pants,” Ramey said Thursday from her home in Waynesburg, about 140 miles south of Cincinnati.

Ramey was on her Lincoln County farm last week – “Friday the 13th, apropos date, isn’t it?” she noted Thursday – feeding a horse when she saw her dog run to a nearby building where she stores old steel-shaping machines, lathes and other equipment.

“This stuff is over 100 years old,” she said.

For some time, thieves had been breaking into the building to steal the machines to sell for scrap. She hadn’t been able to catch anyone in the act until last week.

She drove over to the building and blocked the truck sitting there.

When she asked a man what he was doing, he replied “scrapping,” and said he would leave.

“I said, ‘Oh, no you won’t,’ and I shot their tires so they couldn’t leave,” Ramey said.

She had to balance on her walking stick as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.

“I didn’t even think twice. I just went and did it. If they’d even dared come close to me, they’d be 6 feet under by now.”

Ramey then tried to flag down people driving by. When one stopped, she asked them to call 911. Eventually, three people were arrested – one at the scene and two others walking on a nearby road.

“They’ve been stealing from me for years. Those good-for-nothing slobs,” she said.

Ramey, who lived in Cincinnati on and off for about 30 years, admitted that she is known for taking chances for what she believes in.

(More about her past)

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