Despite the holiday weekend, a sizable crowd was present at the Maricopa Performing Arts Center to witness the beach-themed event. Maricopa Police Sergeant Hal Koozer and current Miss Arizona, Jennifer Smestad, co-hosted the event, with help from current Miss Arizona Outstanding Teen, Maddie Rose Holler.
Competition for three titles, Miss City of Maricopa, Miss City of Maricopa Outstanding Teen, and Miss Pinal County, was woven together into one seamless pageant. This was the first year of competition for the Pinal County title.
Contestants competed in the traditional swimsuit, evening-wear, and talent categories. Talent competition ranged from musical and vocal performances to dance.
Each contestant was also asked two questions. One relating to their category of interest, the other drawn at random from a bowl. The random questions focused on topics such as the role of social media in young people's lives, and how to combat problems such as childhood obesity and bullying. Timely topics such as Syria and Miley Cyrus's recent controversial performance were also touched upon.
In between the title competitions were onstage appearances by the Princesses, a large group of 3 to12 year-olds who are mentored by the reigning Miss City of Maricopa and Miss City of Maricopa Outstanding Teen.
After the competition was over, the contestants from each category were brought on stage, anxious to know who was going to take the crown!
16 year-old Amber Bartow, who attends Mountain Pointe High School, was crowned Miss City of Maricopa Outstanding Teen. She will receive a $300 scholarship.
18 year-old Jacqueline Thomas, a Grand Canyon University student, became the first Miss Pinal County. She will receive a $2000 scholarship.
18 year-old Mary Patch was crowned Miss City of Maricopa. She will receive a $2000 scholarship and will compete in the Miss Arizona Pageant next June.
This was Patch's second year competing and she was excited and grateful for the win. "I see the opportunity to do a lot of good in the coming year", she said.
Smestad was a good inspiration for the contestants. She successfully competed for the Miss Arizona title this summer as Miss City of Maricopa, and will now go for the Miss America crown on September 15th in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
(Photos: Howard Waggner/Maricopa Community News)