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Keasler’s Junior Miss year ‘fun’

Kelly Keasler’s year as Marengo County’s Junior Miss has been fun and full of excitement, but what she will remember most is her experiences representing her home county.

“It’s been fun,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed meeting and representing our county this year.”

The highlight: competing for the title of Alabama’s Junior Miss in Montgomery.

“I didn’t win anything, but it was a lot fun,” she said.

Fun, and hard work. Isolated from her family for 10 days, the girls in the state competition put in about 70 hours per week working on the program and making public appearances at area civic clubs and an elementary school.

“It was more of a production than I thought it would be,” she said from her home in Demopolis, laid up after having surgery on her feet.

“It was a fun year and I’ve learned a lot about our county … I got to be ‘Miss Marengo County’,” she said, noting appearances locally at special events and parades and Christmas on the River.

The mantle of representing the county will pass from Kelly to another high school senior Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Canebrake Theater.

This year, eight girls vie for the title, and for $6,000 in local scholarship money. Junior Miss itself is a scholarship program – 50 percent of a contestant’s score is comprised of academic performance and interview skill. Competition is rounded out with fitness, talent and poise.

“This year they’ve changed poise and are calling it ‘self expression,’ Kelly said.

Competing for this year’s title are: Heather Virginia Cannon, Lashondra Rena Tate, Lauren Scott Yelverton, Elizabeth Donna Hamilton, Alicia Tyann Broadhead, Emily Lauren Harris, Holley Lynn Parten and Stephanie Lynn Wilkinson.

Kelly, sidelined because of her surgery, won’t get to emcee this year’s production, but she’s still excited to see this year’s crops.

“I’m excited and ready to see them to their dances and see who wins. I can’t wait to tell the next Junior Miss about state (competition) and what all they’ll have to do,” she said.

Her advice to the candidates is simple and practical.

“Have fun with it and be yourselves,” she said.