Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pageant Press: Contestants try to relax before tonight's big event

Contestants try to relax before tonight's big event
Lou Whitmire
Mansfield News Journal

MANSFIELD -- Miss Lake Erie Jenna Wilson, of Zanesville, said she must be lucky.

Wilson, 22, captured the talent award Friday during the third round of Miss Ohio preliminaries at the Renaissance Theatre.

She also won a preliminary talent award last year.

"There were so many talented women in my flight, I didn't know what to think. I just went out there and did my best," Wilson said. She sang a powerful rendition of "Maybe This Time" from "Cabaret."

Miss Miami Valley Katie Camp, 22, of Newark, was the preliminary swimsuit winner.

She said she did a lot of running and a lot of sit-ups.

"That's about it. I eat a lot," she said.

Both winners said they are ready for tonight, when the new Miss Ohio will be crowned.

Wilson said it is really easy to get stressed out on the final competition day.

"We all have our iPods, we try to relax. We have our pillows so we can lay our heads down, just try to rest ourselves so we can perform our best if we do make the top 10, because it's anyone's game. We never know with a different set of judges every year what they are looking for," Wilson said.

John P. Kunkel III, the Miss Ohio producer of 25 years, was honored Friday night with a surprise visit by longtime Miss Ohio entertainer Johnny Porazzo, who sang his trademark song "Lighthouse." Porazzo will perform again tonight.

Pageant officials also surprised Kunkel, bringing back to the stage former Miss Ohio entertainer Melissa Barber.

Barber told Kunkel she became a producer and director of musical shows because of him.

Reigning Miss Ohio Karissa Martin gave her traditional farewell, singing and dancing for the audience. During her farewell video, she said to look for her on Broadway and thanked everyone for making the past year one of the best of her life. She logged more than 30,000 miles on her car traveling throughout Ohio.

Board members Tim O'Guinn and Jeff Delianides announced the latest inductee into the Miss Ohio Hall of Fame.

The honor went to former Miss Ohio contestant, the late Theresa Ann Wagner, daughter of Jim and Drena McCurdy of Lexington.

Drena McCurdy, Miss Ohio board vice president, started attending the Miss Ohio show with her daughter when Theresa was just 16. The girl went on to become a veteran Miss Ohio contestant.

McCurdy's family has donated many scholarships to the program since her daughter died in 1992 in a plane crash.

During the fast-paced evening, WNCI 97.9 FM Columbus radio personality Maxwell Jones entertained via two large TV screens from backstage, joking with those contestants about to perform.

"I'm the guy who keeps your kids from doing their homework," he said of his midnight radio show, "Maxwell & Company."

The new Miss Ohio will be crowned today at 8 p.m. She will win a $10,000 scholarship and a chance to compete at Miss America in Las Vegas.

She will make her first public appearance Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Richland Mall in Ontario.

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