Preliminary competition at pageant begins tonight

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 26, 2003

[6/25/03]The much-anticipated first night of on-stage competition in the 46th annual Miss Mississippi pageant in Vicksburg has arrived for the 39 contestants.

After three nights of preliminaries, a Top 10 will be announced, and new rounds of competition will begin.

Talent represents 30 percent of a contestant’s score, personal interview is 40 percent, evening wear and swimwear are 10 percent each, and the on-stage interview is 10 percent.

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Miss Magnolia Brenna Davis of New Albany, who competed in the pageant in 2001, urged the new contestants to have fun and try as hard as they can during the competition.

“Try your best. Then you can be happy with how the pageant went and with your performance in it,” she said. “You can go home proud then.”

The dancers, hosts, entertainers and contestants have held several rehearsals lasting well into the night since Sunday morning. The reigning Miss Mississippi, Jennifer Adcock, told the contestants their work will pay off.

“This show is going to be excellent,” Adcock said.

Lisa Holified has been co-director of the Miss Mississippi College Pageant for two years. She said Miss Mississippi College Jessica Hill of Grenada, a returning contestant, has been preparing for tonight since February.

“We have been designing clothes, practicing mock interviews, having talent rehearsals and working on fitness,” Holified said. “Now we will enjoy the competition.”

Zelmarine Murphy, vice president of the Vicksburg Warren School District, said there has been an increase in interest in the Miss Mississippi Pageant over the years. She said pageant visitors receive excellent hospitality in Vicksburg.

Murphy said she expects the new Mississippi to do well at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. Miss America preliminaries start Sept. 16. The televised competition is Sept. 20.

“We have had a number of Miss Americas over the years,” Murphy said, referring to the four Misses Mississippi who have become Miss America. “We have also had plenty who have finished as runners-up.”

Judges for the 2003 Miss Mississippi Pageant are Joyce Bolden, Vernon DeSear, Michelle Evans Hensley, Terry Ewert and Orley Hood.