Here's a press release:
Becky Minger of Sylvania to Represent Ohio at
Miss National Sweetheart Pageant
Becky Minger of Sylvania, this year's 1st Runner-up at Miss Ohio 2008, will represent Ohio at the Miss National Sweetheart Pageant over the Labor Day weekend in Hoopeston, IL. This pageant is unique in the realm of pageants, and enables the first or second runner-up in their State’s preliminary Miss America Pageant, to compete with representatives from approximately thirty other states. The winner is given the title Miss National Sweetheart, receives a $1,000 Scholarship, a $500 U.S. Savings Bond, plus an assortment of gifts. The pageant begins with two nights of Preliminaries on Friday and Saturday, August 29th and 30th, with Top Ten Finals on Sunday, August 31, 2008. Perhaps no major American pageant is so little known to the public as National Sweetheart, but few pageants are so deserving of attention. It's a durable success story, founded on the unselfishness of one small town.
The friendly farming community of Hoopeston, Illinois, has been the home of the National Sweetcorn Festival since early in the 20th century. For the first few decades of this annual September extravaganza, the highlight was the Miss National Sweetcorn Pageant, for local girls. But in the 1940s, the concept changed. The town decided to invite first runners-up from Miss America state preliminaries to compete, and it changed the pageant's name to Miss National Sweetheart.
It was an inspired idea. Being a 1st runner-up is a uniquely uncertain feeling, somewhere between pride and disappointment. Hoopeston, so far from the bright lights of Atlantic City, and now Las Vegas offers these accomplished young women more honors, more opportunities, and more scholarship money.
National Sweetheart is Miss
's charming country cousin, but the two pageants have no official connection. Unlike Miss America, the pageant in Hoopeston spends little on publicity. And it makes few demands on winners, besides having them preside over the festival. America
The town doesn't even ask winners to come back and crown their successors. In fact, often the reigning Miss National Sweetheart wins her state crown the next year, and is already competing at the Miss America Pageant by the time her reign ends. Several Miss Americas and numerous state titleholders have been Sweetheart winners.
Last year's winner of Miss National Sweetheart was Miss Ohio's 1st Runner-up, Eric Gelhause. Erica is from St. Henry, OH, and attends Otterbein University. The first runner up was Miss Michigan Ashlee Baracy; second runner up was Miss Louisiana Jennifer Soileau; third runner up was Miss District of Columbia Michelle Crosby; and fourth runner up was Miss Georgia Caitlin Andrews.
Following the pageant in Hoopeston, Becky will resume classes at Bowling Green State University, where the soon to be 21 year old will begin her 4th year. Later in the fall, she plans to enter another Miss Ohio/Miss America local pageant, in hopes of winning a title and qualifying to compete at next year's Miss Ohio 2009. If successful, it will be her fourth trip to state. In Becky's first year, she was 1st Runner-up to Melaney Murphy, Miss Ohio 2006. She competed as Miss Northwestern Ohio in 2007, and this past June was Miss Maumee Valley 2008 when she was again selected 1st Runner-up. Contestants can compete from ages 17 to 24, but can only win the title of Miss Ohio and compete at Miss America one-time.
For more information on Miss National Sweetheart, or the National Sweetcorn Festival visit the Hoopeston Jaycees website http://www.hoopestonjaycees.com/. For more information on Becky Minger, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swimsuit: Nebraska and Tennessee
Swimsuit: South Carolina