Pageant vets are winners on night No. 2

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2003

[6/27/03]Two veterans of the Miss Mississippi Pageant won preliminaries in the second night of competition Thursday.

Miss Heartland Brandi Jolly sang her way to the $400 talent award. Miss Southern Magnolia Kim Blackwell secured a $300 scholarship with her win in swimsuit. Both contestants are 22 years old.

The 2003 pageant is the fourth for Blackwell, a Meridian native. “I was overjoyed when they announced that I won,” the senior broadcasting major from Mississippi State University said. “It is a great way for hard work to pay off.”

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Blackwell wore a pink two-piece swimsuit. She said getting fit and staying that way has to be an adopted lifestyle a challenge since her family owns a bakery.

And a bakery might be just right for fifth-time Miss Mississippi contestant Jolly. She said her plans after Thursday’s win included “eating something sweet.”

Jolly is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and a second-grade teacher at Ingomore Elementary School in New Albany, her hometown.

“I am going to relax and take a little breather,” said Jolly, who sang “If I Had My Way” during the talent portion of the competition. Jolly was Miss Blues Country last year. “I am extremely proud. After such an intense evening, it was a relief to win.”

Wednesday’s night of preliminary competition made winners of three contestants. Miss Meridian Ashley Buckman of Bay Springs and Miss Houston/North Central Tara Hughes of Morton tied for the $300 scholarship swimwear competition.

Miss New South Misty Rea won the $400 talent preliminary scholarship on Wednesday, as she did last year as Miss Houston/North Central.

Patsy Hughes, mother of Tara Hughes, said she got very little sleep going into the second night of preliminaries after her daughter was announced a winner in the first night.

“I stayed up until 3 a.m. calling people and waking them up,” Hughes said. “I was so excited.”

The final preliminaries begin at 8 tonight at the Vicksburg Convention Center. Based on judges’ scores for the first three nights, a Top 10 will be announced and a new round of competition will begin to select Miss Mississippi 2003.