Originally posted by The Pratt Tribune - June 8, 2012 - By Carol Bronson - Photo by Gale Rose
If the Miss Kansas Pageant were college basketball, Saturday night is the big dance. Two nights of preliminary competition at Pratt Community College have produced four preliminary winners, who may or may not hold an edge in the final outcome. They have already impressed judges once; however, top ten contestants, who will be named early in Saturday’s show, all begin stage competitions on a level field.
Two opera performers earned preliminary talent awards, Miss Sunflower Angela Thomas from Baldwin City on Thursday for “Chanson Boheme” from “Carmen” and Miss Capital Hillary Boyle, Salina, (left in photo) for “Time to Say Goodbye” on Friday. Both have previous awards to their credit. Boyle earned a silver tray for talent in 2010 and Thomas was the outstanding vocalist at the 2011 pageant. She also received a preliminary evening wear award in 2011 and was a semi-finalist.
Preliminary swimsuit awards went to a novice and a veteran. Sloane Lewis from Norwich, competing as Miss Wooded Hills, won Thursday night in her first year of competition. Representing her hometown as Miss Topeka, Belinda Post (right in photo) added to her collection Friday. She was a double winner in swimsuit and evening wear in both 2011 and 2009, an evening wear winner in 2010 and has placed as fourth runner up, first runner up and semi-finalist in previous pageants.
In a departure from tradition, after their 90-second walk before judges, contestants remained on stage for the duration of the swimsuit competition. Although surprised, Lewis said she liked the change because it gave judges a second chance to see her flexing her abs.
Preliminary winners for evening wear have not yet been revealed.
Contestants draw on artistic training, physical training and study of contemporary issues to get ready for competition, but success often comes from another area.
“Preparation is mostly in my head,” Lewis said. “I had a lot of confidence to build up.”
“I’m not putting pressure on myself,” Post explained. “I’m trying to take everything in stride and live in the moment.”
Pam McKelvy-Hamner, Miss Kansas 1992 and third runner up to Miss America 1993, returned to the pageant as co-host and principal performer. Currently office manager for a healthcare office, she gave up her job as anchor for a CBS affiliate when her son was born seven years ago, and describes being a mom as like being CEO for the entire family.
“My life has been a journey, I have grown so much as a person in the last 20 years,” she said, explaining her selection of “I Am Changing” for a vocal presentation Thursday night.
On Friday, although apologizing for a voice strained from disuse, she again wowed the crowd with “You Can Reach Me.”
Thirty-one contestants are competing for the title of Miss Kansas 2012. Although not a record, it is the most in decades, and likely results both from local directors actively promoting pageants, and bringing fairs and festivals into the mix, when those titleholders compete in all the areas included in the Miss Kansas Pageant, according to Sharon Will, pageant week coordinator.
Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen Stevie Mack, crowned Friday afternoon, was introduced at the evening performance. She was selected from a field of 15, which is a record in the nine years the pageant for younger girls has been in existence.
Also a record, are the 40 Sunflower Princesses, introduced at the beginning of each preliminary performance. They will perform a production number in Saturday’s pre-show that Princess director Melissa Jacob promises will be exciting. Shameem Kauffman, Miss Kansas contestant from Liberal, received a cash incentive of $450 for winning the challenge to recruit princesses, whom co-host Eugene Williams described as the “future of Miss Kansas.”
Saturday’s activities begin with a parade at 10 a.m., featuring Miss and Teen contestants, Sunflower Princesses, and a number of former titleholders. Miss contestants will be at tables downtown for autographs after the parade. The Saturday pre-show begins at 7:30 p.m. at PCC’s Lesh Arena and the final production, leading to the crowning of Miss Kansas 2012, follows at 8.
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