(Originally published by the Pratt Tribune. Written by Carol Bronson. Photo by Gale Rose.)
On the way to crowning the 75th titleholder, the Miss Kansas Pageant got right down to business. Thirty-six contestants moved into the dormitory at Pratt Community College on Sunday morning and competed in the first preliminary round on Tuesday night.
At the end of the evening, Makayla Weiser (pictured on the right), a 20-year-old Kansas State University student from Bonner Springs, won a preliminary award for talent, with a ballet en pointe performance to “Fuego.” She’s been dancing since she was four, got her first toe shoes at 11 and has been practicing for the pageant since February. She gives credit to her ballet coach who pushed her hard every day to get the hard work done. Weiser also competed in the 2014 Miss Kansas Pageant.
Newcomer Kendall Schoenekase, Overland Park, (pictured on the left) won the preliminary award for swimsuit. She is a 22-year-old graduate of the University of Arkansas and currently employed as a medical-surgical nurse. A full-time working woman, she said she also found time to work out at a gym four times a week, with a trainer who “pushed me to the absolute max to be the best I can possibly be.”
The second round of competition will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, also at the Dennis Lesh Arena at Pratt Community College. Final competition is at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Sharing the week with the Miss Kansas contestants are 21 candidates for the Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen title. Two preliminary competitions are slated for Friday at Liberty Middle School, with finals at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lesh Arena.
Preliminary winners on Wednesday were Cari Anne Cashon, a 22-year-old graduate student at Wichita State University, performing “Pirates of the Caribbean” on the piano, and Cassie Lohmeyer, 21, of Benton, also a student at WSU for swimsuit.
Cashon is new to the Miss Kansas stage, but competed in the Miss Oklahoma pageant last year while a student in that state. People have a stereotype of pageant piano music that it is boring, she said, explaining her choice of a piece that is fast-paced, energetic and fun to listen to.
Lohmeyer placed as third runner up in the 2015 Miss Kansas pageant. Her preparation for this year’s competition included “two-a-days” at the gym, along with healthy eating. She said she has worked twice as hard this year, while also striving to keep herself as genuine as possible.
Miss Kansas Organization
Woman of Kansas: Engaged & Empowered
Leadership Recognition Award
The “Women of Kansas: Engaged & Empowered Leadership Recognition Award was established in 2015 by the Miss Kansas Organization to honor Miss Kansas 2014, Amanda Sasek. Through her platform, “Find Your Strength: Engage to Empower”, Amanda inspired women to overcome obstacles and purse their dreams by educating women about helpful resources, encouraging women to support women’s organizations and challenging women to build mentoring networks.
During her year-of-service and through personal interviews, Amanda connected with over 60 inspirational women leaders of all different ages and backgrounds. Each woman shared their stories, advice, and resources to help inspire other women. With each interview, Amanda gathered inspiring quotes and valuable advice and tips for women! Her Women of Kansas interviews were featured on the Miss Kansas Organization website and on social media during her year of service.
In celebration of the 60th consecutive year of Miss Kansas held in Pratt (June 2014) and in recognition of Miss Kansas 2014, Amanda Sasek, a “Woman of Kansas” will be selected annually to receive the Woman of Kansas: Engaged & Empowered Leadership Recognition Award. The selection will be made from nominations received from local and state volunteers, current or former Miss Kansas contestants, Miss Kansas Organization sponsors or former Miss Kansas titleholders. Nominees cannot be affiliated with the Miss Kansas Organization. The person making the nomination should provide a one page typed summary, which includes the following information:
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APPLICATION AND FULL DETAILS NOW AVAILABLE!
The Sunflower Princess Program is a mentoring program for young ladies ages 5-12 who have an interest in learning about citizenship, leadership, volunteerism, and have a future interest in the Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen and Miss Kansas programs.
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Platform: Stay Alive-Don't Text and Drive
Parents: Laura and Jeffrey Schoenekase
Hometown: Overland Park, KS
School: University of Arkansas Graduate
Atlantic City, NJ (August 19, 2015) - Nine former Miss America State Titleholders gathered in Atlantic City Saturday, August 15th to officially launch The Miss America State Titleholders Association. These women - doctors, lawyers, journalists, computer science education experts - put real life stories to the success and extent of the Miss America Organization and Miss America Foundation scholarships.
"MASTA", as it is being called, is co-chaired by Lynn Weidner, Miss New Jersey 1972, Chair of the Miss America Organization, and Regina Hopper, Miss Arkansas 1983, Chair of the Miss America Foundation.
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Since being crowned Miss Kansas in June, I have been preparing for the job of Miss America in so many ways. If I am fortunate to be selected as the next Miss America, I become the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
At the local, state and national levels, the Miss America Organization raises funds annually for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The money I raise will help save children’s lives, and a portion will also support the Miss America Scholarship Fund.
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