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It had to be done, even if it didn’t make sense

I finally feel like an official Vicksburgian (is that the right term?). Last weekend, I took the plunge and experienced an official Vicksburg tradition that I feel is a right of passage to becoming a resident.

No, it wasn’t going through the Vicksburg National Military Park, I still have half of that to complete. I did something even more uniquely Vicksburg. I attended a pageant.

With the 60th Miss Mississippi Pageant hosted in Vicksburg coming up soon, I realized that I would be overwhelmed if that were to be my first pageant experience.

So, to the surprise of every one, including myself, I volunteered to attend the first preliminary competition for Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Saturday afternoon.

I went in having no idea what to expect and left with a minimal understanding, but also a lot of confusion about what had occurred over the last hour and a half.

The show started with a procession down the aisle, which I was very much unprepared for and had to swiftly move my legs out of the way of.  After the contestants had passed, I had to do my leg dance a second time when a horde of princesses in white dresses came marching down the same aisles. I was off to a great start!

Then the pageant started. I have to say the most entertaining part of it was not even directly tied to the competition. I thoroughly enjoyed the multiple performances by the reigning Outstanding Teen Stella Ford, though I am happy I didn’t have to return for the second preliminary after finding out the show was the exact same.

The competition itself was a whirlwind of activity that I am not sure I fully understood. The talent portion is pretty straightforward. Girls sing, they dance and theoretically whoever does it best wins. That I get.

The other two parts of the competition? Not so much.

I was, and still am, the most confused by the lifestyle and fitness portion. The competitors all come out in matching outfits and do a dance routine to introduce the section. Then the ones taking part in that round of the contest come back out and one by one “perform.”

They have a set routine and then they walk to the two side of the stage and pose and flex before walking off the stage. I have no idea what that shows or how it is judged.

The third portion is the evening gown and answering of random question, likely not its official title. The contestants come out one at a time, dressed to the nines and answer a question.

To my untrained ears I could tell who did well and who flopped the answer. The judging of poise and gown wearing? No clue.

Overall it was, I am not sure enjoyable is the right word, so lets say an informative experience. I may not have grasped what all was happening, but I didn’t trip anyone, I immersed myself in the local culture and I feel much more prepared for the Miss Mississippi Pageant (does that one make more sense?).

Brandon O’Connor is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at brandon.oconnor@vicksburgpost.com.