Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Congrats to the New Miss Clayland, Erica Gelhaus!

Miss Clayland: Erica Gelhaus
First Runner-up: StarKeisha Coleman

Talent: Erica Gelhaus
Interview: Erica Gelhaus
Community Service: Erica Gelhaus

Remaining Contestants: Alicia Huyghe and Danielle Henry

I feel awful that I did not cover this pageant in my usual fashion. I was geographically closer, visiting Ohio this weekend, but therefore mentally preoccupied and I didn't even realize it was taking place until I read the results...

Our reigning Miss Ohio, Karissa Martin, returned to her local pageant to crown the next lucky young lady to work with the "Clayland Crew." [Left, Erica and Karissa with Clayland ED, Martha Campbell. *Insert that noise she makes at pageants here!*] If you're new to pageantry you may be wondering, "Didn't the First Runner-up take over when Karissa won Miss Ohio?" Good question, but no, that doesn't usually happen on the local level. The fact is that local titleholders don't do enough appearances and such for that to be necessary; I also imagine that many Miss Ohio's like the opportunity to give up their local title and say thank you and goodbye in a more intimate setting. And in this case, last year's First Runner-up would have been crowing herself!

The new Miss Clayland, Erica Gelhaus, was Karissa's First Runner-up at this pageant last year. She went on to win Miss Northwestern Ohio and was awarded Second Runner-up at the State pageant. With this title Erica will compete for a third time at Miss Ohio, having placed First Runner-up her first time there as Miss Lake Festival; she also won the National Sweetheart pageant.

The images above are from photographer Christine Walsh-Newton. Thanks!

The following is and article by Cindy Davis from the Times-Reporter; note, one of the judges listed at the end is Amity Ryan. Is that by chance the married name of former contestant Amity Sites?

It was a clean sweep for Erica Gelhaus Saturday night as she was crowned the 2009 Miss Clayland.

Gelhaus, 21, of St. Henry also received awards for Community Service and Best Interview and was the Ray King Talent winner. Her platform is “Turning the Page for Children’s Literacy.” She received scholarships totaling $3,400, including a $500 scholarship from the Tuscarawas Campus of Kent State University. She attends Otterbein College.

“I’m very honored and excited for this upcoming year,” Gelhaus said.

She was last year’s first runner-up in the Miss Clayland pageant and the second runner-up at the 2008 Miss Ohio contest in June.

“It will be great working with the organizers of this pageant.” she said. “They’re phenomenal. I’m also looking forward to going back to Miss Ohio.”

Gelhaus sang the operatic number “Adele’s Laughing Song” for her talent. For her on-stage question, she commented on the effect that negative ads are having during the presidential election. She modeled a hot-pink two-piece suit with black trim for the swimsuit portion of the program. She was crowned by 2008 Miss Clayland and current Miss Ohio Karissa Martin.

First runner-up and the recipient of a $ 500 scholarship was Starkeisha Coleman, 20, of Defiance. Coleman sang “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway musical “Wicked.” Her platform was Teenage Depression: DEAL (Driving Every Adolescent to Live).

The theme for the 53rd annual contest was Cafe Clayland. During the program a cafe served as the backdrop for all activities.

Master of ceremonies was Kenn Holmes. Martin served as mistress of ceremonies and opened the program with the National Anthem.

Martin signed autographs prior to the pageant and said she is anxiously awaiting the Miss America competition on Jan. 24. She recently has been involved in the taping of the reality program “Miss America: Count Down to the Crown.” Both shows will air on TLC.

“I met several little girls with big dreams of their own,” said Martin of the autograph session. “I’m happy to encourage them to strive for whatever they want to do in their lives.”

Two local contestants added excitement to this year’s stage. Danielle Henry, 19, of Stone Creek and Alicia Huyghe, 20, of Uhrichsville made area residents proud as they each performed dance routines, modeled swimwear and evening gowns and answered impromptu questions throughout the competition. Both received a $200 scholarship for participation.

Several volunteers were recognized for their longtime service to the program including Lee Merrill, Julie Cerana, Jon Coventry and Heath Campbell, all 10 years; and Colleen Smith, 20 years.

Judges for the event were Regina Tedrick, Matt Beres, Amity Ryan, Robb Rectanus and Cathy Sciarretti.
Martha Campbell is director of the Miss Clayland Pageant, which is a preliminary of the Miss America Scholarship Program.


  1. Yes, that's the same Amity!

  2. Hey Abby! Just letting you know I have joined the online pageant world and now have a blog... http://emilypheils.blogspot.com


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