Mary Beth Moore, a sophomore dance major from Alabaster, was crowned the new Miss Troy University on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Twelve Troy University women competed in the 46th annual pageant, held in the Claudia Crosby Theater.
The Miss Troy pageant is a preliminary for the Miss Alabama pageant and a part of the Miss America system. Each contestant was required to be a female student of Troy University, a United States citizen, never married and childless.
Moore said she is excited about being crowned Miss Troy 2017 and hopes to have a “really unforgettable journey” throughout the next year.
Sara Jo Burks, the assistant director of housing and residence life and one of the directors for the pageant, said there is a lot more preparation for the pageant than others may think.
“The first thing you have to do is set a date and secure your judges,” Burks said. “Then we announce the pageant and have an interest meeting, as there are a lot of girls that are not familiar with the Miss Alabama system, so we provide them with all the necessary information to prepare them for competing in a preliminary pageant.”
That information includes a schedule of all the events and activities, including meals together and practices.
“Mrs. (Janice) Hawkins generally hosts a tea the Sunday before the pageant,” Burks said, referring to Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr.’s wife. “We have our first practice that (Sunday) afternoon, and then we have several more throughout the week and a dress rehearsal the night before the pageant.”
The first stage of the competition was a personal interview with the judges the morning of the pageant. Contestants’ knowledge of current events and ability to clearly communicate views were the main factors the judges considered.
The pageant opened with the national anthem, sung by 2016’s Miss Troy, Leah Livingston, a senior communication major from Miami.
Participants performed a choreographed routine and were introduced before each contestant was asked a question in front of the audience. The questions were random followed by a swimsuit, lifestyle and fitness competition.
Bridgette Howell, a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Dothan, won the People’s Choice Award and the swimsuit competition, as well as first runner-up in the overall pageant. She said she viewed the Miss Troy pageant as a “new and really exciting experience.”
“I’ve never done a Miss Alabama pageant before or anything like it really, but it was a lot of fun,” Howell said. “I think the pageant is a really great program because it’s all about self-worth and being confident in yourself.”
Then came a talent competition. Angele Kendall, a senior dance major from Hershey, Pennsylvania, was the talent winner and was also the second runner-up in the overall pageant.
The competition closed with an evening-wear portion.
Moore said she was shocked she won.
“Competition was fierce, and all the girls were super, super talented,” Moore said. “I was so honestly, unbelievably shocked when they called my name because I knew that I had done the best of my abilities, but everyone else was also on top of their game.”
Keith Brashier was one of the judges for the Miss Troy pageant. He said Moore was chosen to be the new Miss Troy because she portrays the desired qualities best.
“Mary Beth Moore, like all of the contestants, exemplifies the best of Troy University and the four points of the Miss America crown — style, scholarship, service and success,” Brashier said.
Derrick Murphy, an engineer from Hoover and another judge for the pageant, said the Miss Troy pageant displayed the dedication and support Troy University has for its students.
“This pageant showed me not only 12 incredible and determined women, but the strong support the chancellor and faculty offer their students,” Murphy said.
Ashli Morris, a junior international politics major from Athens, and Carlie Spencer, a senior mathematics major from Montgomery, were third and fourth runners-up, respectively. Jessica Edwards, a junior social work major from Tuscaloosa, won Miss Congeniality.
Livingston said she hopes that the new Miss Troy will take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way.
“I like to say I pretty much crammed everything I could into one year because I didn’t want to miss out on any opportunity,” Livingston said. “You only get one year to be Miss Troy, so I hope she embraces every opportunity, appearance and anything else that she gets the chance to experience.”
Mary Beth Moore will be representing Troy at the Miss Alabama Pageant in Birmingham in June 2017.