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New Albany sisters squaring off

Sisters Miss Heritage Hannah Baskin, left, and Miss Union County Cassie Baskin are competing for the same crown in the Miss Mississippi Pageant.(Jon Giffin The Vicksburg Post)

[6/23/04]The first round of preliminary competition for Miss Mississippi is tonight, but sisters Cassie and Hannah Baskin aren’t worried.

“We’re not really nervous because both of our interviews are over, and that’s probably the hardest part,” said Miss Heritage Hannah Baskin, 20.

The sisters from New Albany are competing against one another for the first time, but they wish each other only the best of luck.

“I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather win,” said Miss Union County Cassie Baskin, 21.

Executive producer Pat Hopson said the last time sisters competed in the pageant was in 1998 when Emily and Amanda Burton from Brookhaven competed.

“It’s pretty rare. I’ve been with the pageant for 33 years, and I think the only other time was many years ago when we had twins, but I don’t remember when,” said Hopson.

The Baskin sisters are 23 months apart in age.

“I go to Ole Miss, and Hannah goes to State, but we do everything together when we’re at home. It’s much more relaxing to have each other around this week just to eat together, play around, help each other backstage and just talk,” said Cassie Baskin. “Plus, it helps that Hannah was in the pageant last year, so she told me what to pack and helped me learn the ropes.”

Hannah Baskin was Miss Union County last year and crowned her older sister in this year’s pageant.

“It was kind of different being the younger one crowning the older one, but it was great,” she said.

The two have different talents and different plans for their futures, but they agree that their parents couldn’t be prouder of their two daughters.

Both said they don’t know what next year might bring because Hannah wants to go to veterinary school and Cassie has just been accepted into chiropractic school.

“We don’t know if we’ll do pageant again, but this year is fun with us both here,” Hannah Baskin said.

Tonight’s preliminary competition at 8 will be talent for Group A, swimwear for Group B and evening wear and on-stage questions for Group C.

The contestants will be judged 40 percent for interview, 30 percent for talent and 10 percent each for evening wear, swimwear and on-stage questions.

Judges for this year’s pageant are William Dunlap, Jerry Mannery, G.J. Post, Dana Phillips and Shannon Boy Skokos.

Contestants will receive more than $117,000 in scholarships, and the winner will compete in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City in the fall.