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Oh, to be queen for a day

The annual miss Prineville/Miss Crook County pageant will be held tomrorow night

by: Kevin Gaboury/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Hopefuls for this year, pictured from left to right are: JoBeth Hamon, Shaley Vaughan, 2007 Miss Crook County Maureen O'Doherty, Joanna Knower, Audrey Drake and Carlie Severson.

Miss Crook County 2007 Maureen O'Doherty and Miss Prineville Rebekah Murphy will be passing their tiaras on to new queens Saturday night at the annual Miss Prineville/Miss Crook County pageant. The pageant begins at 7 p.m., in the Crook County High School auditorium. Cost of admission is $8 for adults, $6 for students and free for children 12 and under.
   One dollar from the cost of admission will support the Children's Miracle Network, which is mutually associated with the Miss America pageant.
   The young women competing for the titles are CCHS seniors JoBeth Hamon, Joanna Knower, Shaley Vaughan, Carlie Severson and Audrey Drake.
   The theme of this year's pageant is "Puttin' on the Ritz" and will kick off with an opening dance number that the girls choreographed. The pageant vocalist is Court Priday, who will sing three songs.
   The competition will be judged by community members Scott Cooper, Riley Stock, Naomi Hackler, Rachel Searcy and head judge Caroline Ervin, who was Miss Crook County 2003.
   A new development at this year's pageant is the addition of the princess program, a mentoring program in which girls between 6 and 12 years of age escort the contestants on their evening gown walk and present flowers and trophies.
   Aside from the standard evening gown walk, the pageant will also include a swimsuit competition, a two-minute talent segment for each contestant, a social platform speech - which highlights a cause they plan to support - and an impromptu onstage question.
   "Then we'll crown our new Miss Crook County and Miss Prineville and they'll get ready to go off to Miss Oregon," said coordinator Lexie Tombleson.
   The girls' reasons for entering are diverse, but most of them alluded to the scholarships awarded to the winners. The title holders will win a $500 college scholarship and be eligible to compete for Miss Oregon, as well as $1,000 scholarship for winning the pageant. The other girls will receive $200 just for entering.
   "I'm doing it to build confidence and see what it's like being onstage," CCHS senior Audrey Drake said. "I find the confidence of Miss Americas endearing."
   "It surprised a few people that I actually did it," senior Joanna Knower said. "It will be an experience that I'll always remember."
   "I've always watched the pageant," senior Shaley Vaughan said. "The girls were such role models."
   This is the first time each of the girls has entered a pageant and all are excited for Saturday night.
   Pageant details
   The Miss Prineville/Miss Crook County pageant will take place Saturday, Mar. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Crook County High School Auditorium. Cost of admission is $8 for adults, $6 for students and free for children 12 and under.