‘There she is ...’ Miss Kingsport, Miss Sullivan County pageant Sunday

J. H. Osborne • Jul 12, 2019 at 3:46 PM

Sunday is the 66th Annual Miss Kingsport scholarship pageant, which also selects Miss Sullivan County. The word “pageant” has fallen out of favor with some, but I enjoy pageantry, which the Cambridge Dictionary defines as “impressive and colorful ceremonies.” Miss Kingsport 2020 and Miss Sullivan County 2020 will be selected by a panel of judges on Sunday in what I believe will be an impressive and colorful ceremony. Considered a facet of Fun Fest, the show begins at  2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Toy F. Reid Eastman Employee Center.

I have several friends who have judged pageants. I never have. The Miss Kingsport and Miss Sullivan County pageant is an official preliminary to the MIss America Pageant. The winner of each title will advance to the Miss Tennessee pageant, the winner of which will advance to the Miss America pageant. Miss Kingsport and Miss Sullivan County each will receive scholarship money and other gifts. Runners up will also be awarded scholarship money and prizes.

In January 1954 the Kingsport Junior Chamber of Commerce (the Jaycees) announced their plans to hold the first ever pageant to select a Miss Kingsport to send to the Miss Tennessee competition. Members of the committee formed to spearhead the effort said the organization had “long believed the lovely and talented young ladies of this city should be able to compete with girls of other Tennessee cities for the state title and the opportunity to compete for the coveted title of Miss America.”

The title “Miss Sullivan County” was awarded in competitions beginning in 1955 and through 1961. It was revived in 2015.

Several months ago I attended a judges’ seminar to become certified to judge pageants in the Miss America system. It took the better part of an afternoon and we were fortunate it was offered right here in Kingsport, thanks to Mary Hamilton, executive director of the Miss Kingsport and Miss Sullivan County scholarship competition. We learned all about judges’ primary responsibilities (top of the list: find the right contestant for the job), as well as judging criteria in the multiple categories in which contestants compete.There’s interview, onstage question, lifestyle & fitness in swimsuit, talent, and evening wear. We also learned about the scoring system.

I haven’t been asked to judge a pageant since becoming certified. I am looking forward to the show on Sunday. Unlike the panel of  judges, I will be able to discuss the contestants with my seat mates in the audience and laugh or applaud as I see fit. Judges must give the first contestant the same consideration and the last one; not talk, laugh or applaud while contestants are on stage, watch all contestants, mark score sheets for each — and not tell anyone what scores they assign.

It’s serious business. The eight contestants have worked hard to get on that stage. I hope y’all will join me in supporting them by attending the show.

The Miss Kingsport and Miss SullivanCounty Scholarship Competition 2020 will be held as part of Fun Fest at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 14 at the Toy F. Reid Eastman Employee Center in Kingsport. Eight women will compete for the titles of Miss Kingsport and Miss Sullivan County 2020.

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