Finals of the 2012 Miss Arkansas Pageant- Part 5

Saturday was quite difficult.  I couldn’t even explain my feelings, but I was constantly on the verge of getting emotional.  The end of my year was becoming a reality.  I just wanted the next Miss Arkansas to LOVE her job since I knew what expectations, difficulties, and joys come with the title of Miss Arkansas!

I started the day with a 6:00 a.m. interview on THV Channel 11.  After a little breakfast, I headed to rehearsals to prepare for the final night of competition.  It took quite some time to organize all of the dresses I had backstage that I had worn during the week. There were probably 40 dresses from 9 different dress sponsors.  Thankfully, I had my own dressing room to store all of  those dresses!  We also spent a while discussing the differences in script for the finals.  In order for me to survive the week of Miss Arkansas, many details demanded my attention! 

Mid-morning, I met with the 69 princesses and 1 prince to practice our “Single Ladies” production number for Saturday night. That number required a lot of preparation and leadership, but I hadn't anticipated the rewards I would receive from working with those princesses!  They absolutely loved the dance and considered it the greatest thing in the world to perform with Miss Arkansas!  They constantly showered me with compliments and crowded me with hugs!  When practice was over, one of the little girls gave me a pink silly band bracelet in the shape of a crown!  I have not taken the bracelet off yet! 

Saturday night performance

Around noon, the contestants and I headed to the Hot Springs Mall for an autograph party.  I signed autographs and took pictures for an hour, while my parents were a little teary-eyed in the back.  Fully aware that was my last “appearance” as Miss Arkansas, they realized they will miss it as much as I will.  Thankfully, I was too busy to get sentimental! 

Then, it was time to return my Miss Arkansas car to Allen Tillery Chevrolet.  They provided a wonderful Buick Regal for me to drive this year, and I made several new friends each time I went for an oil change!   I would like to give a special thank-you to Allen Tillery Chevrolet for their help during the past year!   Bale Chevrolet is the new car sponsor for Miss Arkansas and is providing a wonderful vehicle for Miss Arkansas to use this year .

Saturday afternoon, I collapsed for a quick nap before hair and make-up appointments.  Robin and I attended a reception before the pageant for Miss Arkansas board members and former Miss Arkansas titleholders.  My parents were also in attendance, and I couldn’t help but cry when I saw them!  Thankfully, Miss Arkansas 1994 Beth Anne Rankin was there to encourage me!  She talked about how my work with my platform and public speaking could continue indefinitely.  She also reminded me that every former in the room could relate to my experiences as Miss Arkansas more than anyone else!  I was so thankful to be there with my Miss Arkansas sisters!

As we were leaving the reception, a tourist duck boat was driving through downtown Hot Springs, and the tour guide started singing, “There she is…” We started laughing, and Miss Arkansas 1998 Erin Wheatley Parker turned to say, “Soak in every last moment.”  It was very appropriate advice! 

Starting at 6:30 p.m., several Coleman Dairy Talent Winners performed during the pre-show in memory of Buddy Coleman.  Those performing included Beth Anne Rankin, who won the award twice with a piano performance to “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.  Erin Wheatley Parker performed her vocal and tap dance to “I Got Rhythm.”  Evangeline Parker and Holly Ruth Gale also gave vocal performances.

Right before the show started, I had to fight back tears again.  I had only a few more precious hours as Miss Arkansas.  I bit my lip and started walking toward the stage when I heard all of the princesses excitedly greeting me, “Miss Arkansas, Miss Arkansas!”  They were all so complimentary and thrilled to see me!  I found Renee Fronabarger rather quickly and just let the tears roll.  She helped me pull it all together, and I made it through the whole night without any more tears (or at least until my farewell)!
Nay Nay- head chaperone and head comforter! 

Congratulations to the girls announced to the Top 10: Miss Ouachita River Rosalyn Taylor, Miss Sweetheart of Arkansas Brooke Ault, Miss University of Arkansas Tracy Neal, Miss Frisco Springs Simone Mullinax, Miss Heart of the Ozarks Sloane Roberts, Miss Diamond Lakes Abby Turner, Miss Greater Little Rock Bethany Whitfield, Miss University of Central Arkansas Morgan Holt, Miss Greater Jacksonville Maegan Inzer, and Miss Lights of the Delta Somer Allen.
Photo by You've Got the Look Photography!

The Top 10 were asked questions via video from Arkansas celebrities, including Governor Mike Beebe and ASU head football coach Gus Malzahn.  It was really neat.  The performance with the princesses received a huge applause from the audience!  After intermission, I danced to “I Got Rhythm” and said my final thank-yous.  I received a beautiful coronation ring from the Royal We and Sissy’s Log Cabin!  The Royal We and Clark's Bridal (they have a partnership) have been huge sponsors of the Miss Arkansas pageant and also sponsored the opening number dresses.  I was happy to honor them by wearing all of their dresses on Saturday night!  Here is the beautiful ring! 

 Also, I announced two very special awards: Volunteer of the Year and Woman of the Year. 

Congratulations to the 2012 Volunteer of the Year, LoraNelle Humphrey!

Congratulations to the 2012 Woman of the Year, Micki Petrus Konecny! 

I am so proud of the scholarships that the Miss Arkansas Organization and Foundation gave to the contestants.  We handed out over $88,000 in cash scholarships and even more in-kind sponsorships!  Miss Arkansas received a $20,000 scholarship thanks to the Ted and Shannon Skokos Foundation. It is the largest prize package for a state titleholder in the Miss America Organization.  Special for the 75th Anniversary year, we also awarded a minimum of $250 to each contestant competing (click here for a complete list of the awards).  I am honored to be a part of this life-changing organization!

Congratulations to Sloane Roberts for being crowned Miss Arkansas 2012 as Miss Heart of the Ozarks and for winning overall interview and overall swimsuit!  Congrats to Miss University of Central Arkansas Morgan Holt for winning overall evening gown!  Congrats to Miss Sweetheart of Arkansas Brooke Ault for the prestigious Coleman Dairy Award for winning overall talent!  Here are the top 5:

 3RU Rosalyn Taylor, 1RU Morgan Holt, me, Miss Arkansas 2012 Sloane Roberts, 2RU Bethany Whitfield, 4RU Maegan Inzer

All runners-up were new to the top 5, but Sloane had placed 4th runner up last year while capturing the Coleman Dairy overall talent award.  Bethany, Rosalyn, and Maegan will all age out of the Miss Arkansas Pageant.  Morgan Holt will qualify for the National Sweetheart Pageant, but it has not yet been announced if she will be attending.  More to come about the contestants… Congratulations on a great year!


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