• 72°
franklin county times

Junior Misses begin 45th annual competition

By Staff
DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY Thirty-eight participants from all over Mississippi opened up the 2004 Mississippi Junior Miss
program with a dance routine. The program continues at 7:30 tonight at the Temple Theatre. PHOTO BY KYLE CARTER / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Penny Randall / staff writer
Aug. 1, 2003
It was a three-hour trip for Amanda Kistler and her parents to travel last Sunday to Meridian from the Mississippi coast city of Pascagoula.
Kistler is one of 38 participants many of whom also traveled long distances from across the state to compete in the Mississippi's Junior Miss program.
The girls took to the Temple Theatre stage Thursday night in the first of three nights of competition that will culminate in the naming of Mississippi's Junior Miss 2004 on Saturday.
Kistler said everyone she has met has made her feel right at home.
Competition begins
The Mississippi Junior Miss competition began with an opening number featuring all 38 contestants dressed in aerobic outfits and performing a choreographed routine.
Following the opening number, state Sen. Terry C. Burton was introduced as master of ceremonies.
The contestants were divided into two groups Diamond and Sapphire.
On Thursday, the Diamond Group competed in talent, where contestants performed everything from vocal to clogging routines. The Sapphire Group was judged in poise and fitness.
During the poise segment, contestants dressed in formal gowns were asked to share their view on "Should marijuana be legalized for medical use?"
The physical fitness routines, choreographed by Meridian dance instructor Suzie McCraw, had dance moves, crunches, jumps, push-ups, lunges and other aerobically challenging moves.
In between the talent and physical fitness presentations, Beth Finch, Mississippi's Junior Miss 2003, made an appearance onstage. She spoke about her year as Mississippi's Junior Miss and the national competition in which she competed only a few weeks ago in Mobile.
Be Your Best Self'
The theme of the Junior Miss program is "Be Your Best Self." Contestants are competing for more than $20,000 in scholarships.
Hancock County's Junior Miss Ashley Elizabeth Flynt added that after a week away from her family she is looking forward to seeing them.
This week, contestants have kept busy with rehearsals and public appearances, but also found time for some fun.
On Wednesday night, Jimmy and Ann Alexander hosted a "Luau by the Pool Party," where the girls met the judges.
The Mississippi Junior Miss program continues tonight with the naming of the top 10 finalists.