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Pageant set for this weekend

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By The Staff

Nine women will compete in the Miss Las Vegas-Miss San Miguel County pageant Saturday.

The event is set for 7 p.m. at Highlands University’s Ilfeld Auditorium.

The theme for the pageant is “Hawaiian Nights.” The contestants will be vying for the two titles and a chance to represent the area at the Miss New Mexico Pageant in June in Alamogordo.

The pageant is a preliminary of the Miss America Pageant.

Two local women have represented the area at the Miss America Pageant. In 2004, Susan Yara (Miss San Miguel County) went on to win the Miss New Mexico title and competed at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. The following year Ane Romero (Miss Las Vegas) captured the Miss New Mexico title and competed at the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas, Nev.

Tickets for the local event are $10 and may be purchased from the contestants or at the door the day of the event.

The Miss America Organization is one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and 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. This assistance is not just for the handful of young women who become Miss America, but is available to the more than 12,000 young women who compete in the state and local competitions as well.

The Miss America Organization is a nonprofit organization that has maintained a tradition for many decades of empowering young women to achieve their personal and professional goals, while providing a forum in which to express their opinions, talent and intelligence, according to a press release. Scholarships have been the cornerstone of the Miss America program since 1945 when Bess Myerson was the first Miss America to receive a scholarship from the Organization.

To become Miss America, a contestant must first win a local competition and then compete to represent her state, a process requiring personal commitment, hard work and talent, the release states.

A woman may compete at the state level more than once, but may only represent her state in the national Miss America competition one time. Contestants in the Miss America system are between the ages of 17 and 24. Participating in the Miss America system not only helps pay for college and prepare for a career, it also provides an opportunity to gain additional life experience, working on issues of importance to society, enhancing personal and professional skills and developing performance-related and other talents.

Competition categories include artistic expression (talent); presentation and community achievement (interview); presence and poise (evening wear); lifestyle and fitness (swimsuit) and knowledge and understanding (on-stage question).