Organizers of a regional scholarship pageant are excited that a number of young women have signed up for this year's competition - but there is still time for more contestants to enter.
The pageant is set for 6:30 p.m. March 2 at the Old Brick Playhouse in downtown Elkins. Four titles will be awarded, when four young women will be crowned Miss North Central West Virginia, Miss Randolph County, Miss North Central West Virginia Outstanding Teen and Miss Randolph County Outstanding Teen.
The North Central West Virginia Regional Scholarship Miss and Outstanding Teen Pageant is an official local preliminary to the Miss West Virginia Organization. That means young ladies in the area who take part in this pageant have the opportunity to compete at a regional, state and national level. They could even go on to become Miss America.
The pageant also includes a special Junior Miss mentoring program for girls, which is set at 4 p.m. March 3.
Linda Sponaugle, who handles pageant accounts and is the Junior Miss coordinator, said the pageants are an excellent way for girls and young women to develop confidence, learn interviewing skills and win a range of scholarships. Some contestants have taken part in pageants before, but those who are new to competitions always are welcome.
"A lot of it is good experience - the more you do, the more you learn," Sponaugle said Tuesday, adding that many contestants take part because of the opportunity to win scholarship money for higher education.
"It is a lot of fun," she said about helping with the contest and working with the young women. "I enjoy doing it, and it's a great scholarship pageant. ... As long as you live in West Virginia, you can participate."
The Miss West Virginia Organization and Miss West Virginia Outstanding Teen pageants are designed to promote the education of young women in the Outstanding Teen category, ages 13 to 17, and the Miss category, ages 17 to 24, by providing educational scholarships.
Contestants in the Elkins pageant will compete in a range of categories, such as evening wear, interview and on-stage questions. By registering, participants help support Children's Miracle Network.
Girls in the Junior Miss pageant also will compete in different categories, such as casual wear and on-stage questions, Sponaugle said. The mentoring program for ages 5 to 12 is designed for girls who might be interested in competing in pageants when they are older. The winner of the honorary Junior Miss title will be able to take part in the Miss Monarch mentoring program in Morgantown this spring.
Sponaugle said the pageant relies on support from the community, and organizers are actively seeking more sponsors. The Inter-Mountain is one of the sponsors for the pageant.
"Last year, we had tons of sponsors," she said. "We got a lot of good support."
She hopes to see that again this year.
Anyone interested in more information about participating in the pageant or becoming a sponsor can contact Jerry Corley, pageant director, at 304-635-0174 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Connie Pingley, Teen and Miss coordinator, at 304-642-7033 or email@example.com; or Sponaugle at 304-636-7309 or firstname.lastname@example.org.