GUIZERIX: Cheering for our hometown girl this week

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, June 22, 2022

I got to witness my first Miss Mississippi Parade on Monday evening, and it was a sight to behold.

Seeing so many women of different shapes, races and backgrounds putting their best foot forward to represent their respective communities, I couldn’t help but be proud to live in Vicksburg, the home of the Miss Mississippi Competition.

About three-quarters of the way through the parade, one candidate stood out from the crowd. It wasn’t due to her beauty, although she is surely outwardly beautiful. It wasn’t her “pageant wave,” although she had that down-pat and could go toe-to-toe with the Queen of England. And it wasn’t the way she took a few seconds to pay special attention to my toddler, even though I loved seeing my baby’s face light up when someone waved back to her.

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No — this candidate stood out for the way the public simply adored her. Vicksburg native Charity Lockridge, competing this year as Miss Leaf River Valley, was practically swarmed by parade-goers on Monday night as she made her way down Washington Street.

Her smile was genuine, and the way she greeted each friend along the route carried with it an enthusiasm that was plain infectious.

I knew I had to get a good picture of her, and she was such a great sport when I shouted, “Charity, smile for The Vicksburg Post!” She made a heart sign with her hands and giggled as I clicked away.

Inner and outer beauty aside, Lockridge displays another characteristic that few can claim: tenacity. I can’t think of many people who’d want to go through the rigorous competition circuit that is the road to Miss Mississippi not once, not twice, but four times.

She sings like a lark, with stage presence to match.

And perhaps the most admirable quality our hometown girl possesses is that, crown or no crown, she values and understands the many wonderful skills the Miss Mississippi Competition has taught her. Lockridge said last year, “I’m my own competitor.”

Best of luck to Charity Lockridge and all the Miss Mississippi candidates as this week goes on.