The Miss Kane County Scholarship Pageant, themed “Sugar Sweet,” lit up the Kanab High School Auditorium on Saturday night, July 17, pivoting around the charmingly humorous Mistress of Ceremony services of 2019 royalty - Queen Bethany Nording and Princess Hazel Harris.

Jacey Heaton, Miss Kane County Pageant Director, explained that during the previous two months there have been four workshops of five hours each, with sessions focused on Interview Skills, Evening Wear Modeling, learning the Production Number, and practicing Talent.

“The girls are really awesome; they’re really excited,” Heaton said. “ We have a variety of talents you don’t usually see in other pageants. I mean we have floral arranging, a cooking show, singing, dancing, sand art. Just all sorts of variety ... poetry and dramatic acting, thrilling acrobatics, and archery!  

“They work really hard in this. I wanted it to be something they can learn from and grow from ... and to get good ... to learn good life skills from it, not just something to just show up and do. And so they’re learning interviewing skills, stage presence, how to work with other people, even if you come from different places. And I think they bring the county together. We’ve got girls from Valley. We’ve got girls from Kanab. They come together and they become good friends.”

Judges McKenzie Dalton (Delta), Susan Esplin (Cedar City) and Kierra Hoyt (Kingston) scored contestants based on four criteria: their prior Private Interview (30 percent), On-Stage Interview (10 percent), Talent (40 percent) and Evening Wear (20 percent).

Following the opening full-scale “Grease”-style dance presentation, directed by Shellie Stewart, the girls dressed more casually for the On-Stage Interview consisting of one common question on their platform goals, and one randomly drawn from a paper gift bag. Next, another wardrobe change for their Talent display, and then for the grand finale, the Evening Wear promenade. 

During the interim, awaiting the judges decision, last year’s Princess Hazel Harris entertained with an original folk-style song accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. 

Army-bound Queen Bethany Nording, appropriately attired in blue jeans, tennies and a black “NASA” T-shirt, brush-painted a symbolic Stars and Stripes on canvas, finishing with an overlayed stencil through which she spray-painted a black eagle design!

The departing royals announced the winners. First, the Princess contingent: Miss Congeniality-Cari Nelson; Miss Photogenic-Harlee Riggins; Second Attendant-Iris Lofing; First Attendant-Caitlyn Cannon; and Princess-Kimber Reeve.

At last, the Queen entourage was announced: Miss Congeniality-Tennysen Willis; Miss Photogenic-Reille Helms; Second Attendant-Laifey Cox; First Attendant-Allison Clarkson; and Queen-Alyssa Stewart.

The newly-installed Princess, Kimber Reeve, effused, “I’m really excited to be here. I’m very happy! And it’s my birthday, too!  It’s a pretty good birthday present; I love it.”

When asked about her plans: “I’m gonna try and start a blog for my platform on how to help teenagers with their self-esteem problems. Because teenagers are into technology and popular social media, I’m going to post some of my journeys. Hopefully, they’ll help other people let them know they’re not alone. And post some challenges in there to not be so scared of themselves.”

The freshly-elevated Queen, Alyssa Stewart, enthused, “It feels amazing to win Miss Kane County!  I’ve been doing this for three years, and it feels good to have all my hard work pay off.”

About the future of her reign: “I think I am going to continue to spread awareness for my platform, which is drug awareness and abuse prevention. And hopefully, I can create a club and create more awareness throughout the community.”

Long live the Queen!

For further scheduled events and appearances, go to thekanecountyfair.com.