News Column

7 seek pageant crown

July 22, 2014

By Amy Kent, Clinton Herald, Iowa

July 22--CLINTON -- The time has come for Miss Clinton County Brandy Herrington to pass her crown on to the next lucky contestant and this year the competition is thick.

When the event commences on Saturday at the DeWitt Central Performing Arts Center, seven young women will vie to become the 53rd Miss Clinton County. First-time local competitors Emily Bray, Morgan Benthin and Maddison Lange will face-off against veteran pageant participants Taylor Wiebers, Emily Evans, Christy Scimeca and Jaleesa Patterson.

Joining them are six teenage girls competing for the Miss Clinton County Outstanding Teen crown, three youngsters in the Li'l Miss Clinton County contest and one in the Junior Miss Clinton County competition.

Before the pageant kicks off, the girls are offered some preparation from the Miss Clinton County Board of Directors and Executive Director Jeanne Williams.

"The month prior to the pageant we meet with the contestants for pageant training with our 10-person volunteer board," Williams said. "We'll host mock interviews and some wardrobe selections so that they are making smart choices. Some of them are still high-school students so we want to make sure they're making good decisions."

All that preparation leads up to the pivotal moment of competing in the Miss Clinton County competition, and if crowned, inevitably the Miss Iowa contest in June.

And though the pressure can be daunting, it doesn't stop newcomers from testing out the pageant waters.

Herrington was a first-time competitor and actually finished in the top 10 of the 2014 Miss Iowa pageant, opening the door for other rookie competitors behind her, something Williams and the pageant board are encouraged to see.

"I love to see the new faces come in because it says to me that they're interested in service and volunteer efforts and self-growth," Williams said. "And the ones who weren't crowned that come back say to me that they had a positive enough experience to try it out again."

Another reason some competitors decide to come back is because of the superior scholarship opportunities that are offered through the Miss America program.

Even without placing, every Miss Clinton County contestant earns a $400 scholarship to the school of her choice. The title winner is given $1,000 worth of scholarship dollars, with the first runner-up receiving $700, and those are only the scholarships offered by the Miss Clinton County Board.

Other organizations within the county offer other scholarships, with the most substantial one coming from Clinton Community College.

"If the titleholder ends up going to Clinton Community College she gets a full-ride scholarship for two years," Williams said. "That's part of the reason I have been involved with this organization for 11 years. The scholarships are just awesome."

And on Saturday, one lucky competitor will be rewarded with that scholarship for all of her hard work. The pageant will begin at 7 p.m. at the DeWitt Central Performing Arts Center and will be emceed by former Miss Clinton County and singer-songwriter Brooke Byam.


(c)2014 the Clinton Herald (Clinton, Iowa)

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Source: Clinton Herald (IA)

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