SIKESTON -- Miss America pageants will be different this year - and not only at the national level.
"Miss America has moved to County Music Television, CMT. That is a big change," said Vivian Johnson, executive director of Miss Sikeston Winter Princess pageants. "For us locally, the big change is we've added Miss Missouri Outstanding Teen."
The 14th annual Miss Sikeston Winter Princess Scholarship pageant, a preliminary for Miss Missouri and Miss America, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Albritton-Mayer Center for the Arts.
The Miss Missouri Outstanding Teen pageant will run simultaneously with the Miss Sikeston Winter Princess Pageant. The winners will represent Sikeston next June in Mexico, Mo., in the Miss Missouri and Miss Outstanding Teen pageants.
As Sikeston hosts an open pageant, all women in Missouri ages 17 to 24 are invited to compete in the Miss Pageant and all young women in Missouri ages 13 to 17 who are not a graduating senior are invited to compete in the Outstanding Teen Pageant.
"We know they have gained a lot of experience from this competition as well as generous scholarships so the Miss America organization wants to get the young ladies 13 to 17 involved and prepared to compete in the scholarship pageant eventually," said Johnson, speaking for the all-volunteer Board of Directors. "We have watched them over the years and seen how, when they are on a job interview, it helps them. Job interviews are easy, a piece of cake, after doing this."
The young women competing for the Miss Sikeston Winter Princess title compete in interview, swimsuit, talent, evening wear and on-stage question.
The new teen pageant will be different in only one phase of competition: They will compete in active wear instead of swimsuit.
Having limited seating and anticipating large crowds, the scholarship pageant board members agreed the best way to accommodate the audience is to sell the tickets in advance, according to Johnson.
Each contestant will have the opportunity to purchase tickets with their entry forms which are available at Sikeston Senior High School, Sikeston Junior High School, the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce and Purse'N'ality in downtown Sikeston. The remaining tickets will be available at the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce office.
Johnson said there is a lot of interest in the pageant because it is the largest scholarship for women in the world with the Miss America Organization making $30 million in scholarships available each year.
"The non-for-profit organization is most proud of its ability to maintain a tradition of empowering women to achieve their personal goals while providing a forum to express their opinions, talents, physical fitness and intelligence," Johnson said. "I feel like these are young women on the right path, preparing for their careers, and these pageants help them on their way."
Sikeston is one of about 30 cities in Missouri which offers this scholarship and opportunity. "Winning a local pageant like ours is the only way a young woman can go to Miss Missouri or Miss America," Johnson said.
For more information call Johnson at 471-7833, Christie McDowell at 471
-9192 or Kelly Williams at 471-1442.