Pageant silent auction raises money for scholarships

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The items have been trickling in for months now. Pottery, jewelry, Miss Mississippi memorabilia and even a few items signed by famous Mississippians have all now arrived at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Pageant directors from throughout the state worked Tuesday to organize and set up the litany of items that will be offered for sale during the 2017 Miss Mississippi silent auction. Bidding will begin Wednesday and continue through Friday.

“Usually bidding gets a little more aggressive Friday night,” pageant director Tammy Wells, who oversees the auction, said. “Sometimes we don’t have very many bids on Wednesday night, Thursday night, people are just shopping and looking. We made the most money we ever made last year, right around $8,100.”

The money raised through the auction is used to provide scholarships to first-year competitors in the pageant.

“All the money we collect through this, and we give $8,000 in scholarships, goes to basically newbies, rookies,” Wells said. “Maybe they don’t necessarily make the top 10, but they need to have a boost and know they do have a future in the pageant, and ‘hey, we are proud of you want to let you know you are doing well.’”

The items in the auction are collected and donated by the local pageant directors.

Mississippi artists create many of the items, but there are specialty items including a game-worn Mississippi State football helmet signed by head coach Dan Mullen and a record signed by Martina McBride.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the pageant being in Vicksburg, there will also be Miss Mississippi memorabilia including a program signed by by former Miss Mississippi and Miss America Cheryl Prewitt Salem from the year she was crowned Miss America.

“We started [the auction] in an effort to give scholarships in memory of Wayne Sutter, executive secretary of Miss Mississippi, and John Wayne Jabour, judges chair for the pageant,” Wells said. “We did it in memory of those two gentlemen because they were such integral parts of the pageant and we directors wanted to honor their memory.”

Auction winners will be notified on Saturday. Bids must be placed in person and winners will be able to pay via check or cash.