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Two vets, one new competitor win first night

Winners in the first night of preliminary competition at the Miss Mississippi pageant are, from left, Miss University April Lancaster, in talent; and Miss Heritage Hannah Baskin, center, and Miss Byram Tri-County Angela Allen, who tied in the swimsuit competition.(Jon Giffin The Vicksburg Post)

[6/24/04]The first night of Miss Mississippi 2004 competition saw a tie between two pageant veterans in swimsuit and a first-time contestant as the talent winner.

Miss Byram Tri-County Angela Allen and Miss Heritage Hannah Baskin tied as swimsuit winners, each receiving a $300 scholarship. Miss University April Lancaster won talent with her rendition of “Quando men vo” from the opera, “La Boheme.” She received a $400 scholarship.

“I’m so excited,” said Baskin, 20, who competed as Miss Union County last year. “I guess all the hard work, exercising every day and lifting work, paid off.”

Allen said she was shocked when her name was announced.

“I thought any one of us could win,” said Allen, 22, who competed as Miss Mid South last year. “We’ve all worked equally as hard, but I’m so excited.”

Lancaster, 22, said the Miss University pageant was her first, and so far she’s had wonderful experiences being involved with the Miss Mississippi pageant.

“I love to sing, and opera makes me different,” she said.

In a separate round of judging Wednesday night, Group C competed in evening wear, casual wear and questions on-stage. Those results are not made public, but are added to the composite score in determining the Top 10, which will be announced at the beginning of Saturday night’s show.

On Saturday night, each contestant in the Top 10 will repeat her talent and swimsuit competition. That night’s competition and the crowning of Miss Mississippi 2004, who will compete in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, will be broadcast live on WLBT-TV3.

The second round of preliminaries is at 8 tonight, and Group A will compete in evening wear, casual wear and on-stage questions. Group B will perform talent, and Group C will model swimwear.

The 40 contestants are 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.