Pageant contestants continue fair tradition

Monday, September 11, 2006
Aleesia Holland, 5, of Cape Girardeau competed prior to winning the Little Miss division for ages 4 to 6 in the beauty contest at the SEMO District Fair on Sunday. (Fred Lynch)

Confidence wins the crown.

That was the advice last year's Miss SEMO District Fair pageant winner, Megan Nelson, told contestants on Sunday. And that advice was helpful to Kate Winzenburger, who won this year's title.

"I was real excited. I've never won a pageant before," said Winzenburger, who competed in her first pageant about three weeks ago at her hometown of Cobden, Ill.

The Southeast Missouri State University junior will represent the SEMO District Fair at the state's fair pageant in Sedalia, Mo., next year.

More than 60 contestants, ranging from ages 2 to 22, competed in this year's SEMO District Fair pageant, said Melody Hutson, pageant coordinator. The number of contestants has gone down, especially in the older division, during the last 10 years Hutson has coordinated the event.

Hutson said she would like to see more women compete in the 17 to 22 age division -- this year there were three entrants.

"The pageant is a really good opportunity for the girls. They build interview skills, and it's a great confidence booster," she said.

Most girls, like Mary Dodd, 13, of Cape Girardeau, enjoyed the opportunity to get dressed-up.

"I just do it for fun," said Dodd, who competed in the fair pageant the past three years.

Although she didn't place in the top three, Dodd's family from Steele, Mo., cheered her on and said they enjoyed watching her on-stage.

The pageant's 2- and 3-year-old contestants drew the most cheers from the audience. Many of the girls' mothers carried them on-stage and several broke down in tears.

Elizabeth Roy, 3, said she was nervous but went on-stage without the help of her mother, Kelly. "I was in a pretty dress," said Elizabeth, who placed second in her age group.

Kelly Roy said this was Elizabeth's second year to enter the SEMO District Fair pageant, the only pageant she competes in. And that's only if Elizabeth wants to enter, Kelly Roy said. "She's very much a girl and loves to play dress up," her mother said.

The younger contestants are judged based on their gown and grooming, as well as poise and self-confidence. The older contestants also have a separate interview portion, which is what Winzenburger plans to work on before the Sedalia pageant next year.

"I have a year to prepare so I plan on entering a few more pageants this year, just for the practice," she said.

335-6611, extension 246

District Fair pageant winners

Tiny Miss SEMO Fair (Ages 2-3)

1st: Kelee Gromer of Clarkton

2nd: Elizabeth Roy of Cape Girardeau

3rd: Madison Hall of Bertrand

Little Miss SEMO Fair (Ages 4-6)

1st: Aleesia Holland of Cape Girardeau

2nd: Ashtyn Rains of Chaffee

3rd: Laney Koch of Oran

Young Miss SEMO Fair (Ages 7-9)

1st: Megan Porter of Scott City

2nd: McKenzie Goodson of Cape Girardeau

3rd: Leah Van Winkler of Chaffee

Pre-teen Miss SEMO Fair (Ages 10-13)

1st: Hannah Noe of Dexter

2nd: Hillary Green of Sikeston

3rd: Natalee Edwards of Cape Girardeau

Teen Miss SEMO Fair (Ages 14-16)

1st: Julie Motherhead of Scott City

2nd: Heather Beggs of Benton

3rd: Connie Dement of Sikeston

Miss SEMO Fair (Ages 17-22)

1st: Kate Winzenburger of Cape Girardeau

2nd: Danielle Harper of Sikeston

3rd: Kaleisha Walker of Cape Girardeau

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