10 women to vie for pageant crowns this weekend
It's time to crown a new Miss Leavenworth County and Miss Wooded Hills.
And, women from all over Kansas will be competing for the titles in the second annual Miss Leavenworth County and Miss Wooded Hills pageant this weekend at Basehor-Linwood High School.
Executive director Elizabeth Jump said the pageant has gained more support since its debut in March 2007.
"We have more sponsors and community interest this year," Jump said. "We also have more scholarship money to offer this year. We've definitely gotten a lot more recognition in our own community and had a lot more time to prepare this year."
The event is an official local preliminary of the Miss America Organization, the largest provider of scholarships for women in the world. Joel Nichols from KMBC-TV and Sarah Jump, a 2001 Basehor-Linwood High School graduate and former Miss Kansas contestant, will serve as hosts for the pageant.
Ten women between the ages of 17 and 23 are expected to compete for the titles through evening gown, swimsuit, talent and onstage interview categories. The two women with the top scores will earn the titles of Miss Leavenworth County and Miss Wooded Hills and will go on to compete in the Miss Kansas pageant in June in Pratt.
This year's local pageant was scheduled a bit earlier to allow for a teen portion. At least three girls between the ages of 13 and 17 are expected to compete for the title of Miss Leavenworth County Teen. The categories are similar to the Miss portion except swimsuit will be replaced with fitness and sportswear.
"They just wear something that demonstrates something they do to stay physically active," Jump said.
The teen titleholder will then go on to compete for the title of Kansas Outstanding Teen in February in Wichita.
Even the youngest pageant-bound ladies will soon be able to participate in the Miss Leavenworth County and Miss Wooded Hills Pageant with the introduction of the Leavenworth County Sunflower Princess mentoring program. Designed for girls ages 5 through 12, the program is not a competition, but a chance for younger girls to participate in the program and receive a mentoring session from the current Miss Kansas.
This year's representative, 8-year-old Kaleigh Johnson of Lansing, will receive a tiara and will participate in the opening number and crowning ceremony. However, next year, more young ladies will be able to take part.
"It's just a way to have them meet some girls that are goal-oriented and have some fun," Jump said.
The audience can expect a wide variety of entertainment, especially in the talent portion, Jump said. Women will bring everything from comedy monologues and flag routines to singing and dancing to try to impress the judges.
Miss Kansas, Alyssa George of Minneapolis, the current Miss Leavenworth County, Tonganoxie native Paula Prosser, and the current Miss Wooded Hills, Lindsay Hoover of Manhattan, will also perform.
George has spent the last several months traveling around the state speaking about her personal platform, "Bullying the Bystander Effect," and will travel in January to Las Vegas to compete in the Miss America Pageant.
"Miss Kansas is a full-time job," Jump said. "Sometimes she'll speak three or four times in a school system a day."
Local titleholders Prosser and Hoover have also set the bar high for the upcoming hopefuls. Hoover earned first runner-up at Miss Kansas while Prosser made it into the top 10. Both women brought home $1,600 in scholarships each.
"About 20 girls qualify for Miss Kansas and all of them have won a local to get there," Jump said.
The Miss Leavenworth County and Miss Wooded Hills Pageant will be at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, in the Basehor-Linwood High School auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.
For more information, visit www.misswoodedhills.mysite.com, www.misskansas.org or contact Jump at (913) 909-6822.