By Andrew Lewandowski, Contributor
Three students participated as contestants in local pageants for Miss Nebraska during the 2011-2012 academic year, with the Alliance local held this past weekend wrapping up this year’s preliminaries for the state competition title for June 7, 8 and 9.
The pageants took place all over regions of Nebraska and were held throughout the year. Within these locals, six pageants were held and 12 titles awarded: Miss State Fair/Miss Heartland, Miss Omaha/Miss Douglas County, Miss Chadron/Miss Northwest, Miss Crane Festival/Miss Kearney and Miss Alliance/Miss Panhandle.
On Oct. 22, 2011, three girls from UNO competed for the title of Miss Omaha/Miss Douglas County. A total of 13 girls competed for the local Omaha titles including UNO students Brenda Ramos, Erica Mitchell and Natalie Christina McGovern.
The theme for the pageant was “Dancing with the Miss Omaha/Miss Douglas County Stars,” and was held at the Jewish Community Center in Omaha. There were two portions of the competition, Miss and the Teen divisions. Mindy Schrieber, a Columbus student attending UNL, won Miss Omaha, a closed title, and Megan Thalken from North Platte was crowned Miss Douglas County. Megan Dimmitt, of Alliance, was selected as first-runner up. Kirsten Fletter, of Omaha, and Danielle Tucker, of Pierce, were among the top 5. Both Schrieber and Thalken received a cash scholarship of $500. Two teenagers were named as Outstanding Teens and will go on to compete for the Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen. Payton Merritt was crowned Miss Omaha Outstanding Teen and Miss Douglas County Outstanding Teen was awarded to Raeann Bronder.
Brenda Ramos, 20, spoke on the pageant and touched upon how doing pageants such as these aren’t easy, and it takes preparation.
“All of the girls were so welcoming. Although I won’t be doing anymore pageants in the future, I’m glad I at least gave it a shot and made some new friends along the way,” Ramos said. Ramos is a marketing major at UNO.
The Miss Crane Festival/Miss Kearney pageant took place Feb. 19 at the Merryman Performing Arts Center and two winners were crowned. UNO student Chrissy Townsend won Miss Crane Festival and Kaylee Carlberg from UNL won Miss Kearney. Seven girls from surrounding regions of Nebraska competed for the titles.
Titleholder Chrissy Townsend,20, said that a fun fact about the Miss Crane Festival/Miss Kearney pageant is that she is the first to hold the title of Miss Crane Festival. “It’s not the first Kearney pageant though. They used to have it a long time ago.” Townsend says she is “preparing for state and is really excited.”
The Alliance pageant was held Feb. 26 at Alliance High School Performing Arts Center and was the last pageant to wrap up the locals before Miss Nebraska. The theme was “A Royal Affair.” Kalyssa Hoeffer from Friend placed first-runner up. Megan Dimmitt, an Alliance hometown native won Miss Panhandle and Natalie Christina McGovern from Omaha, was crowned Miss Alliance. Dimmitt and McGovern were awarded $200 cash scholarships.
Contestants competed in interview, on stage question, physical fitness in swimwear, talent and evening wear for the title. The winners won scholarship money and will raise funds to compete for the ultimate title of Miss Nebraska in June.
Miss America is the leading provider of scholarships for young women across the nation and provides over $450 million dollars in scholarships each year to titleholders from the local, state and national competition levels.
With two titleholders hailing from UNO this year representing Kearney and Alliance, these students proved that a lot of hard work and effort go a long ways to accomplish aspirations and goals.