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By Colleen Kochensparger
Delta Tau Delta will host the annual Miss UK/Miss Lexington pageant Friday in the Singletary Center for the Arts.
The pageant will benefit the Chlidren’s Miracle Network and the Makenna Foundation, as well as provide scholarship opportunities to two of the twelve contestants who will go on to compete for the title of Miss Kentucky.
“It’s a preliminary for the Miss Kentucky pageant that will happen in June this year and it’s in the Miss America system, but it’s more of a scholarship system,” said last year’s winner Ramsey Carpenter, a special education/LBD senior.
Contestants can compete for the title of Miss UK if they are current UK students or for Miss Lexington if they are non-students from the Lexington area.
Both Miss UK and Miss Lexington will go on to compete at a state level, said event director Dana Peddicord.
Miss Kentucky will spend the year after winning the crown touring various schools and “promoting mostly self-esteem” and related issues, Peddicord said.
“It’s important for girls who are competing to keep in mind that it’s not just a crown, you basically work as a service to the state,”she said. “It’s kind of a job.”
In order to win the title of Miss Lexington or Miss UK, contestants will take part in a swimsuit round, an evening of private interviews with the judges, a round of onstage questions, an evening gown round and a display of a particular talent, said Thomas Bardenwerper, a finance and marketing sophomore and Delta Tau Delta member.
Bardenwerper is the promoting and marketing director for the event.
“I really like the talent part because some of these girls, when they get on instruments, it’s amazing,” Bardenwerper said.
In order to become a competitor, one must have a specific philanthropic platform.
“I had to write an essay on my platform; mine is prenatal care (and) what we can do to prevent premature births,” said current contestant Hope Zils, a pre-nursing sophomore.
“At this level, everyone’s required to raise a hundred dollars” for the Children’s Miracle Network in order to compete, Zils said.
The required donation is increased for all Miss Kentucky competitors to compete, and again at the national level.
The Miss America pageant system “joins forces with the Children’s Miracle Network on a national level” to raise money and awareness for the charity, Peddicord said.
This particular level of the pageant will also be raising money for Delta Tau Delta’s philanthropy, the Makenna Foundation, which is also of the Children’s Miracle Network.
“We have a couple of sponsors — Miss Priss, ecampus, Kennedy’s, Cane’s, Whitaker Bank, and a few others — that are getting spots in the program and a shout out from the emcees,” Bardenwerper said.
The sponsors helped pay for flyers and other aspects of hosting the pageant, so all ticket sales will directly benefit the Makenna Foundation, Bardenwerper said.
“The Children’s Miracle Network is important because it’s hospitals spread out across the nation for kids who are going through a really tough time medically; there’s actually one on UK’s campus,” Carpenter said.
The contestants visit children in hospitals during pageant week to cheer them up and provide support.
Despite all the fundraising, tough questions and “dreaded swimsuit round,” the pageant is far more rewarding than it is stressful, Carpenter said.
“It’s kind of stressful but, honestly, not so much that it isn’t fun,” Carpenter said. “It’s not just based on your looks, it’s your personality and your platform.”
“The best part of each event is the talent; each girl has the opportunity to showcase a talent or craft, something they’ve really honed and worked on, there’s lots out there but you usually see singing, dancing, girls playing piano,” Peddicord said. “It’s a way to see who these girls really are.”