Tie in talent marks second night of competition|[06/26/08]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 26, 2008

A tie in talent marked the second night of preliminary competition during the 51st Miss Mississippi Pageant in Vicksburg.

Miss Tupelo Meredith Beeman, 20, of Tupelo, and Miss Mississippi Coast Marie Wicks, 19, of Ocean Springs, tied for the pageant’s second preliminary talent awards. They will each receive a $300 scholarship for the talent win.

Miss Gulf Coast Christine Kozlowski, 19, of D’Iberville, won the second preliminary in swimwear. She will receive a $200 scholarship.

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Beeman performed a ballet en pointe to “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”

“It’s a very familiar tune and so it’s easy for the audience to get behind,” she said.

If you goThe Miss Mississippi Pageant will continue tonight and finish at 8 p.m. Saturday at Vicksburg Convention Center, 1600 Mulberry St. Tickets are available for $30 for tonight and $50 for Saturday. Friday’s 2 p.m. mural unveiling and 7 p.m. parade are free. In case of rain, the mural-unveiling ceremony will be on the top floor of Vicksburg Convention Center. For more information, contact the pageant office at 601-638-6746.OnlineLocal Ballroom Men lend a toe to showFormer St. Al athlete on the stageMiss Mississippi special sectionPageant PhotosMiss Mississippi Pageant WebsiteBeeman began dancing in the third grade and is now a junior dance and history major at the University of Alabama. She competed in the 2005 Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant and was named first alternate.

As a dance major, she spends at least two hours a day in dance class, she said.

“I’m just so pleased and so honored,” she said.

Wicks, a sophomore at the University of Mississippi, began playing piano in the second grade. She played the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”

“I heard it and fell in love with it, so I decided to learn it,” she said.

Though Wicks is an international studies and public policy leadership major, she also takes piano lessons at Ole Miss.

This is Wicks’ first experience with the Miss Mississippi Pageant, but she was a Top 10 finalist in Mississippi’s Junior Miss 2007.

To prepare for her swimwear win, Kozlowski danced to prepare for her talent and did cardio exercises, but had another secret weapon.

“I actually swam in jeans,” she said. The goal was to lengthen her muscles.

Kozlowski competed in the Miss Mississippi Pageant last year as Miss Mississippi Coast. A sophomore nutrition major at the University of Southern Mississippi, Kozlowski is also very meticulous about watching what she eats.

“I make sure to do everything the healthy way,” she said. But, “I do have a weakness for brownies.”

Festivities Wednesday night included a tribute to Dr. Briggs and Pat Hopson for their 50th wedding anniversary. The Hopsons have been involved in the Miss Mississippi Pageant since 1973, when Briggs Hopson was the pageant physician and Pat Hopson was a hostess. Today, they serve as chairman and vice president of the board of trustees.

Tuesday night, Miss Mississippi State University Corie Stanford took the talent award for singing “Time to Say Goodbye.” Miss Hinds County Diana Strickland won swimwear.

The Miss Mississippi Organization honored scriptwriter Ann Grogan Tuesday night. She has written the script for the Miss Mississippi Pageant since 1995.

Preliminary competition for Miss Mississippi 2008 will wrap up tonight at the Vicksburg Convention Center at 8.

On Friday at 2 p.m., the Miss Mississippi City Front mural will be dedicated and at 7 p.m. the Miss Mississippi Parade will roll down Washington Street.

Preliminary competition scores from talent, swimwear, on-stage question, evening wear and off-stage interview are compiled to form a composite score. The 10 contestants with the highest composite scores will compete Saturday night during the live telecast on Jackson’s WLBT local cable Channel 3, with their scores from Saturday added to their composite scores to determine Miss Mississippi 2008.

She will be crowned at the end of the telecast by outgoing Miss Mississippi Kimberly Morgan.