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11 ways to make a scholarship pageant better

March 10, 1997

For some strange reason, I'm in love with the Miss Jefferson County Scholarship pageant. Maybe it's the enthusiasm of young women who might just make it to Atlantic City. Maybe it's the papier-mache palm trees, I don't know.

But once again, this year was no disappointment.

Of the nine women competing, I can honestly say that I couldn't pick a clear-cut winner. I thought they were all good.

And the Jefferson County Dancers were wonderful.

However, I do have a few other issues I wish to bring up.

One, I think we need to address this problem of everyone singing for their talent. This is talent, right? And most everyone can sing, in a manner of speaking.

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So if you are going to sing, I think you should have to do something else to make the performance more credible - like spinning some plates on top of sticks. And if you sing anything out of Phantom or Les Miz, you should have to simultaneously spin plates while riding a unicycle. Just a little extra challenge, that's all.

Point Two: If you want to go to a pageant, do not bring your infant. This should be as basic a premise as not bringing your dog to a funeral. But some people still don't get it. They believe their squalling child is cute. It's not.

Point Three: I was really happy that Megan McKenery won. I had sort of picked her from the get go. But largely that was based on the fact that on her bio sheet she said she had a foot fetish. After the event she was asked about this, and she said what she really meant was that she had a foot phobia.

Upon hearing this, with my lips drawn into a thin, white line, I quietly put my shoes and socks back on and walked out to the lobby for a smoke.

Of course these bio sheets can be death. Once we got a sheet from a young lady who said she was "pursuing a bachelor at Shepherd College." Another said she had improved herself by taking a "Dale Carnage" course.

Point Four: I'm a little dubious about this scholarship business. Kristen Nicole DeGrave gave an erudite rendition of Confederate Martinsburg spy Belle Boyd. But did it do her any good? Ha. If scholarship is the key, these women should be able to come out on stage and divide pi, or expand on the string theory of quantum mechanics.

Point Five: Do not bring your infant to a pageant. Oh, did I say that already? Sorry.

Point Six: Smiles are a big thing in these pageants. I liked Laura Cluchey because one - and call me old-fashioned if you must - she was pretty, and two because she could smile and play the trumpet at the same time. That's got to count for something.

Point Seven: I must be a horrible judge. One, or maybe two, of my favorite contestants didn't make the final cut.

Point Eight: A former Miss Jefferson County by the name of Dawn Renae Rix sang for the crowd and boy, does she have a wonderful voice. I will excuse her from the spinning-plate requirement.

Point Nine: Is it me, or do a lot of the guys in the crowd at a beauty pageant seem - oh, never mind.

Point Ten: I'm sorry, I meant to say "scholarship pageant."

Point Eleven: We need a national campaign to eliminate the part of the contest where the women are asked questions. The questions are all the same: "Do you think children and the elderly are important." And the answers are all the same: "Yes."

This exercise seems to be designed solely for the purpose of seeing whether the women are capable of speaking under pressure, instead of simply breaking down and bleeding through the ears.

I would like to be the one asking these questions. I would ask, "Leeds United last won the English Football Cup in what year?"

Or, "excuse me Megan, but can you help me put back on my shoes and socks?"

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