Magnolia, Rankin on top third night|[06/27/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2008

For the first time in years, no contestant for Miss Mississippi this year won more than one preliminary competition.

In Thursday night’s competition, the final night of the preliminaries in the road to the crowning of Miss Mississippi 2008 on Saturday night, Miss Magnolia Brittainy Childers, 24, of Wren, captured the talent tops. The four-year pageant veteran will receive a $300 scholarship.

Miss Rankin County Crystal Flores, 19, of Brandon, won the third preliminary in swimwear. She will receive a $200 scholarship.

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Childers, who is returning to the pageant after a two-year hiatus, sang “Unchained Melody” for her win.

“I’ve been singing ‘Unchained Melody’ since I was 13,” she said. “I told my grandfather that if I ever came back to Miss Mississippi that’s what I’d sing.”

Childers is a graduate of Mississippi State University. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management and is now an assistant marketing director for University Management.

She left the pageant for a few years so that she “could come here with no regrets,” she said.

“I’m just ecstatic, to be honest,” Childers said.

Flores said that hearing her name called as the final preliminary swimwear winner “was amazing.”

“I’ve been in the gym all summer,” she said.

Flores is a freshman at the University of Mississippi where she studies communicative disorders.

Now that preliminaries are over, she hopes to “just have a blast. It’s all about having fun,” she said.

Along with featured performer Miss Mississippi 1962 Chalie Carroll Ray, emcee Miss Mississippi 2006 Taryn Foshee and vocal director Miss Mississippi 1992 Kandace Williams, at least two other former winners were at Thursday’s show.

Miss Mississippi 1978 Cheri Brown returned to sing the National Anthem and Miss Mississippi 2002 Jennifer Adcock was in the audience.

Tuesday night, Miss Mississippi State University Corie Stanford took the talent award for singing If you goThe Miss Mississippi Pageant will wrap up Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Vicksburg Convention Center, 1600 Mulberry St. Tickets are $50. Today’s 2 p.m. mural unveiling and 7 p.m. parade are free. For more information, contact the pageant office at 601-638-6746.The muralThe Miss Mississippi mural will be dedicated today on the upper level of the Vicksburg Convention Center at 2 p.m. The location was moved from the City Front floodwall in anticipation of rain.OnlinePageant PhotosMiss Mississippi special sectionMiss Mississippi Pageant Website”Time to Say Goodbye.” Miss Hinds County Diana Strickland won swimwear.

Wednesday night, a tie in talent gave Miss Tupelo Meredith Beeman and Miss Mississippi Coast Marie Wicks the second preliminary wins. Miss Gulf Coast Christine Kozlowski took home Wednesday’s swimwear award.

Today at 2 p.m., the Miss Mississippi City Front mural will be dedicated at the Vicksburg Convention Center. The location was moved from the floodwall in anticipation of rain. However, the Miss Mississippi Parade will still roll down Washington Street at 7 p.m.

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.