Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The pageant is back


JUNIOR MISS CALIFORNIA Beauty 2013, Consuelo Garcia, center, right, places a tiara on Kiah Clinton, 2013 Junior Miss, as Miss Teen El Dorado, 1988, Stevi McShane (Sweeny) left, waits to place her sash. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

On Thursday, June 13 at 8 p.m., amidst the hustle and bustle of the first day of the El Dorado County Fair, a special excitement buzzed at the Budweiser stage. After a two-year absence, the Miss Teen El Dorado Pageant was back and better than ever.

“I just want to thank everyone for being here tonight,” began Alora Martin, pageant director and owner of Sashay Stage Productions. “I’m really excited about our show. We’ve got some really great girls here, and I’m hoping it will be a great experience for everyone involved.”

This year’s pageant included three titles: Junior Miss (ages 11-13), Teen (ages 14-16) and Miss (ages 17-19), as well as a Director’s Award for the girl who most exemplified the spirit of the pageant.

The contestants competed in three areas: casual dress, formal wear and on-stage interviews.

Judged by former Miss California American Beauty Lindsey Becker, Benefit esthetician Jessica Walker and Wells Fargo banker Jimmy Joe Young, winners in each category received a $250 scholarship as well as their sashes and crowns.

There was also a People’s Choice Award in each age group where, for $1 per vote, audience members could vote for their favorite participants.

To begin, the two junior miss competitors — Kiah Clinton and Timmi King — took the stage in their casual outfits.

Competitors had been asked to interpret “casual” as they pleased, which added to the fun spirit of the event.

Eleven-year-old Clinton wore a sparkly black top and skirt while King, 13, came out “shooting hoops” in basketball shoes and shorts.

Next up were the teens — Sierra Starr, Alyssa Korp, Madison Resendes and Jacey Hollinsworth —followed by the misses — Princess Wormwood, Camille Jones, Laci Rizzuto and Jessica Serne — who dazzled the crowd with everything from waves and pirouettes in bright red heels to doing back walkovers in cheerleading outfits to “just chilling” in comfortable tees and denim shorts.

Next, the formal wear competition began.

As the girls took turns gracing the stage in their gowns, announcer Danny Resendes presented a brief biography about each girl, such as their favorite subject in school, what they’re looking forward to this summer and what they want to be when they grow up.

After wearing the basketball gear, no one seemed too surprised when King said she wanted to be a WNBA player someday.

Last, the girls pulled one question each out of a glass bowl and answered it in front of the supportive crowd.

The crowd laughed when Korp said, if she could be a fictional character for a day, she’d be Katniss from The Hunger Games “because she gets to kill people.”

Everyone seemed pleased when Jones said she felt the biggest challenge facing her generation was social networking.

“When you try to talk to people, they’re always looking this way and that way, but never at you. People don’t know how to communicate in person anymore,” Jones said.


Decision time

When the questions were finished, the real work began. Nearly 20 minutes passed while the judges deliberated.

When they were done, all of the girls were called onto the stage as well as Miss Teen El Dorado 1988 Stevie McShane (Sweeney) and 2013 Junior Miss California American Beauty Consuelo Garcia who had come out to support the girls and help with the crowning ceremony.

Martin announced the director’s award first.

“Because of her great attitude and overall embodiment of the spirit of the pageant, I’d like to give this award to Sierra Starr.” Starr beamed as she accepted the award and the crowd went wild.

Also to great applause, King received the People’s Choice Award for the junior miss group.

Then Clinton was declared the 2013 Junior Miss El Dorado.

Hollinsworth was crowned 2013 Miss Teen El Dorado. Starr was given the People’s Choice Award and was runner-up to Hollinsworth.

The big announcement of the evening revealed that Jones was the 2013 Miss El Dorado and Serne was runner-up and the People’s Choice Award winner.

All the girls enjoyed the pageant experience and enjoyed meeting new people and learning new things.

“I really liked getting to meet a bunch of other girls who are also interested in doing pageants,” said 16-year-old Hollinsworth. “I thought I was the only one.”

Resendes, 14, said she had a good time, too.

“It was fun just walking on stage and showing off. I really enjoyed it,” Resendes said.

In 2011, just 20 days before the show, the Miss El Dorado County pageant was cancelled due to a lack of participants. This was sad news to many previous pageant participants, including Director Martin, who has been doing local and state pageants for 15 years.

“I used to do the Miss El Dorado County pageant, and this year I was 2013 Miss California runner-up,” said Martin. “Pageants are a great experience and can really help build confidence, even if you don’t win. That’s why I wanted to try to bring this pageant back.”

Jessica Cyphers


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