Stacy Romero and Bianca Matamoros-Koonce were crowned Miss Las Vegas and Miss San Miguel County respectively at Ilfeld Auditorium on Saturday.
Both Romero and Matamoros-Koonce will compete for the title of Miss New Mexico in June in Alamogordo. Romero was crowned by Candace Gonzales, Miss Las Vegas 2007. Matamoros-Koonce was crowned by Miss San Miguel County 2007 Adrianna Valdez.
Other contestants were Tiana Mercedes Chavez, Skye Mares, Christina Elizabeth Chacon, Victoria Lucero, Krystyna Gonzales and Erin Scott. This year’s pageant theme was “Hawaiian Nights.”
“I was in complete shock,” Romero said. “I didn’t really think about it at first. Once the crown was on, I didn’t know what to do. Part of me just wanted to run to my mom and hug her. The other part was I was just relieved that it was over, and I got through it in one piece.”
Newly crowned Matamoros-Koonce said, “My first thought was thank you God — I get to go compete for Miss New Mexico. I felt a huge wave of excitement when I was announced the winner. It’s a moment where you realize all your hard work is starting to pay off.”
Romero, 22, is a student at New Mexico New Mexico Highlands University and a graduate of West Las Vegas High School. Her platform issue for the pageant was “Painting for Peace Project and Appreciation for the Arts.” At Highlands, Romero studies media arts and education. Her ultimate career ambition is to obtain a master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis in art therapy.
Romero competed in 2004 for the same title when Susan Yara was crowned Miss San Miguel County. Yara went on to win Miss New Mexico and represented the state at Miss America.
Romero, however, learned from her previous pageant experience and regained the courage to participate again.
“I faced my fear of the stage, and I did it with shaky legs and a smile,” Romero said. “I would have been happy either way if any of the other girls won. They are amazing young women, and I am glad that I was able to share this experience with them. The important thing is I am able to speak out about one of my passions — the arts.”
Matamoros-Koonce, 22, is a student at the University of New Mexico studying communications. Her plans are to receive a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and eventually become a recording artist and a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. Her platform as Miss San Miguel County is support for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Although she is not a native Las Vegan, she chose to compete in the local pageant because of the direction and guidance that Phillip Ortiz, the Miss Las Vegas Scholarship Organization’s executive director, provides his area winners.
She referred to the previous two winners in the local pageant program, Yara and Ane Romero, Miss New Mexico 2005.
“It’s nice knowing I will have someone giving direction on my way to Miss New Mexico,” Matamoros-Koonce said.
By winning their respective titles, both Stacy Romero and Matamoros-Koone received $300 scholarships, The New Mexico Highlands University Zia Scholarship, a crown and sash, bouquet of roses, a trophy, one-year gym membership to the city’s recreation center and a Mary Kay gift basket.
The contestants were judged by Kimberly Montao, Dennis Dean Trujillo, Yvette Wilkes, Marc Kaplan and former Miss New Mexico Erin Griggs-Regrutto. Myra Martinez served as auditor — a position she has volunteered for the past five years. Jesse Lopez, a Highlands student and board member of the Miss Las Vegas Scholarship Organization, served as emcee for the night’s festivities.
Little Miss Las Vegas 2007 Savannah Lujan and Miss Teen Las Vegas 2007 Kayla Gonzales participated in Saturday’s festivities by wooing the crowd of nearly 300 decorated with leis with their renditions of various songs.
Romero and Matamoros-Koonce will now prepare for the Miss New Mexico pageant.
There they will compete with other young woman from throughout New Mexico for the title of Miss New Mexico.