A lot more than wearing sequins and looking pretty goes into pageants; this year’s Miss Dixie said she has struggled to earn her title.
Kelby Morrison, a senior dance major from Oakley, Idaho, rose above 16 other hopeful contestants to earn the title of Miss Dixie 2016.
Mikel Young was fourth runner-up, McKensy Madsen was third runner-up, McKenna Hodge was second runner-up, and Ella Barlow was the first runner-up.
“I can’t wait to be involved with the school, the community and to implement more service,” Morrison said. “The Miss America Organization is incredible, and provides so many opportunities.”
Along with the chance to compete for Miss Utah, Morrison will receive a full tuition scholarship for one year.
The categories judged in the Miss Dixie Pageant were swimsuit, talent, on-stage question, evening wear and an off-stage interview.
“People watch pageants and think it’s easy to get on stage,” Morrison said. “There is a lot of work that goes into pageants. It is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting.”
A new judging criteria implemented this year into Miss America Organization preliminary pageants was the on-stage question being worth 20 percent of the overall score instead of the previous 5 percent. This change is supposed to help the Miss America Organization choose the best possible candidate to represent them, said emcee Brian Carlson, a Good4Utah announcer and reporter from Salt Lake City.
Contestants were asked about subjects like politics, patriotism and social media privacy.
“This year was harder than any other year,” said Young, a junior double major in art and dance from Salt Lake City. “The changed rules made [the competition] a lot harder so everyone had to step it up and really know their stuff. These girls all knew their politics and there was so much talent here tonight.”
Wulfenstein said she felt bittersweet about becoming a former title holder.
“I’ve loved representing my platform,” Wulfenstein said. “But I am excited to get married and start the next chapter of my life.”
Morrison competed in the Miss Dixie Pageant her freshman year and placed as first attendant, and ever since then, she has been competing in Miss America Organization pageants.
“It has taken me four years to get here,” Morrison said. “I am finally here.”