Jennifer Adcock takes the crown

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 8, 2002

Former Miss Mississippi Becky Pruett crowns Jennifer Adcock Saturday night at the Miss Mississippi Pageant at the Vicksburg Convention Center.(The Vicksburg Post/Melanie Duncan)

[07/07/02]The third time was the charm for Miss West Central Jennifer Adcock Saturday night as she took the Miss Mississippi 2002 crown and called it an early birthday present.

The rising senior at the University of Southern Mississippi will turn 22 on July 29.

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Adcock, who was crowned Miss West Central on the same stage at the Vicksburg Convention Center in January, had competed in the state’s top scholarship pageant in Vicksburg in 2000 as Miss Hattiesburg and in 2001 as Miss Southern.

“I moved up two spots every year,” she said after the crowning, explaining she was fourth alternate in 2000 and second in 2001.

And, as she had in the previous two years, Adcock was a winner in the preliminary swimsuit competition.

After being crowned during the live television broadcast, Adcock said she had one thing she wanted to do first: “I want to hug my mother.”

The Vicksburg Convention Center, which holds 1,700 people in the audience with the pageant stage and runway in place, was sold out for Saturday night’s show, said executive director David Blackledge.

Few seats were empty on each of the three nights of preliminary competition, Wednesday-Friday.

The Hattiesburg resident who is majoring in speech communication said she expects to stay out of school for one year.

“I believe Miss Mississippi will be a full-time job,” she said.

Along with Adcock, a pianist who performed “Revolutionary Etude” by Chopin, the women in the Top 5 were:

First runner-up Miss Midsouth Allison Kellogg, who performed a ballet

Second, Miss Dixie Robyn Davis, sang

Third, Miss Southern Sheladia Kidd, sang, and

Fourth, Miss Byram Tri-County Brandi Walker, played the clarinet.

All four had previously competed in the state pageant.

Adcock said late Saturday night that though the competition was not new, some of the rules were, changing the playing field a bit.

“Nine of our Top 10 were back and the scoring had changed, so we didn’t know what to expect,” she said.

The scoring is determined by the pageant’s sponsor, the Miss Mississippi Corporation. Pageant officials had said earlier the changes were made to focus more on the contestants and their interviewing skills.

Personal interview rose from 30 percent to 40 percent, and talent dropped from 40 percent to 30 percent. Evening wear and swimsuit dropped from 15 percent to 10 percent. The category of on-stage interviews was added to make up the extra 10 percent.

During the next several weeks, Adcock will prepare for the Miss America Pageant, in which she will compete with the winners for the other 49 states, in Atlantic City Sept. 21. Former Miss Mississippi Becky Pruett said she fully believes Adcock will shine at the national level.

“She’ll fill my shoes and then some,” Pruett said after passing along her title. “She’ll take Miss Mississippi to another level. We have a fifth Miss America on our hands from the state of Mississippi.”

Mississippi saw representatives take the national crown in 1958, 1959, 1979 and 1985.

For her winnings Saturday night, Adcock will receive $15,000 in cash scholarship. For her swimsuit win in the preliminary competition, she was awarded $200, and she was awarded Saturday night the $1,000 Mississippi Chiropractic Award.

Others in the Top 10, who were announced early in Saturday night’s competition, were Miss Tupelo Sara Peters, Miss Houston North Central Misty Rea, Miss Jones County Laranda Moffett, Miss Dixieland Amanda Burton and Miss University Jessica Hill.

Other cash scholarship winners include non-finalist talent winners Miss Delta State University Lesli Bacon, Miss Grenada County Keely Williams, Miss New South Vickie Morgan, Miss Hinds Community College Ashley Serio, Miss Blues Country Brandi Jolly and Miss Mississippi State Melissa Keenum.

Miss Alcorn County Jessica Sparks received $700 as the non-finalist interview winner. Miss Magnolia Beth Richards received the $500 Betty “Boop” Mims Award. Miss Northwest Community College Amy Bostick received $1,000 Board of Trustees Award. Miss Forest Andrea Murray won the $2,500 WLBT Broadcast Major Award. Miss Deep South Heather Russell received the $700 Rosemary Hayslett Award. Miss Union County Mitzi Jo Hill won the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency’s $250 award for her platform. Miss Dixieland Amanda Burton received the Women in Medicine Award of $2,500.