New Miss N.C. Preliminary Pageant Formed in Sandhills
Another preliminary pageant for Miss North Carolina, and ultimately for Miss America, has recently been formed by a dedicated group of individuals based in Moore County, and encompassing Lee, Richmond and Scotland counties.
The new pageant, called the Greater Miss Sandhills, is open to young women from all four counties, and the first competition for the title will be held Saturday, March 21, at Owens Auditorium at Sandhills Community College.
The organization behind the Greater Miss Sandhills pageant is headed by Southern Pines resident Jan Spivey as executive director, and is composed of a board of directors with a solid background in pageants. A core of the board members has been active as the driving force behind the Miss Moore County Outstanding Teen competitions for the last eight years.
Late last summer, Spivey was contacted by the state organization for Miss North Carolina and asked if she and her group would be interested in starting a new preliminary pageant to cover a region of the south central portion of the state that hadn't been represented in the state competitions for several years.
"We were of course very pleased to be asked, and believe one of the main reasons why they had chosen us was the success we have had in running the Outstanding Teen competitions," Spivey says. "For instance, we have had a third runner-up for state winner, three scholar award winners, and state talent award winners on several occasions.
"Now, in addition to the Miss Outstanding Teen competition, we are thrilled to give talented young women in the four-county area a chance to compete for the title of Miss North Carolina and for scholarship money."
Spivey points out that the Miss America program, under whose wing all the state and local pageants are held, is the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. Last year, the Miss America organization and its state and local organizations made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance.
More than 12,000 women participate each year in the local and state events, culminating in the selection of 52 national finalists who vie for the Miss America title. And thousands of volunteers organize the local and state preliminary competitions, promoting community involvement and achievement among young women in their areas.
The new Miss Greater Sandhills organization is not affiliated in any way with Miss Moore County.
Spivey says, "We were one of the few Outstanding Teen programs that didn't have a relationship with a 'Miss' pageant. Once we made the name of the Greater Miss Sandhills official, we also changed the title of our reigning Outstanding Teen to Miss Greater Sandhills Outstanding Teen."
Both title holders the Miss Greater Sandhills Outstanding Teen and Miss Greater Sandhills to be chosen March 21 -- will compete in the state pageants in June in Raleigh.
Kelcie Frye, the current Miss Greater Sandhills Outstanding Teen, has been instrumental in getting the adjoining counties involved in her new sister organization.
According to Spivey, Frye has accompanied the representatives of the group to meetings at high schools, chambers of commerce, and events such as county fairs in order to get the word out.
"She was very well received every place we visited, and we are proud of her and her commitment," Spivey says.
Assisting Spivey with the details of the new organization are, among others, Kaye Fritz, who is business manager, and Bill Cullifer, as vice president of the board of directors.
Fritz has been associated with the Outstanding Teen pageant for its eight years and has worked closely with Spivey.
"We have been very fortunate in getting sponsors for our Outstanding Teen pageants through the years, and we have also raised scholarship funds through silent auctions and program ads," Fritz says. "And naturally, we are always looking for, and welcome new sponsors, for the Miss Greater Sandhills pageant."
Bill Cullifer, and his wife, Lynn, are in charge of the judges for the events. Both are certified judges, and have been active in pageants for many years. Bill says that he first got interested in pageant activities through a former boss in Alamance County, and when they moved to Seven Lakes, they continued their involvement.
A retired law enforcement officer, he observes that there is a good mix of people who are active on pageant committees.
"They include men and women, young marrieds and seniors, who have a variety of occupations," he says.
The pageant committee for the Miss Greater Sandhills event on March 21 was excited to learn recently that the reigning Miss North Carolina will be on hand to crown the new Miss Greater Sandhills.
Contestants come from each of the four counties, and will compete in the standard evening gown, talent, swimsuit, interview and on-stage question segments of the event. Among the prizes and gifts the winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship, a wardrobe allowance and entrance fee to the state pageant.
"It's a very rewarding time for us, as we get to know the contestants," Spivey says. "Once the queen has been crowned, we stay involved through escorting her to appearances and other pageants, and we get to know her even better. It's all about helping the girls to achieve their dreams and their goals, and all of them are winners."
Contact Pinehurst freelance writer Mary Elle Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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