Miss Nebraska pageant begins

The 2014 Miss Nebraska Pageant opens Thursday night in North Platte with the first of two nights of preliminary competition leading up to the finals on Saturday night. Saturday afternoon will have the Miss Nebraska's Outstanding Teen pageant.

This is the 30th year that North Platte has hosted the senior pageant, and the field of 19 contestants is the largest in recent history. The pageant had only 11 in 2010...when Teresa Scanlan of Gering was crowned Miss Nebraska and went on to become Miss America.

The Panhandle has dominated Miss Nebraska in recent years with 6 of the last 7 pageant winners either natives or representing area pageants, including the current titleholder JaCee Pilkington.

The other winner in that period was a native of Ogallala, and the chances of another winner this year aren't bad with 10 of the 19 contestants having ties to the Panhandle

They are Miss Alliance Staci Craighead, Miss Chadron Kodi Baumann, Miss Gering Alexis Smith, Miss Kool-Aid Days Jessica Littlejohn, Miss Northwest Alex O'Connor, Miss Panhandle Mindy Schreiber, Miss Scotts Bluff County Brittli Sell, Miss Sugar Valley Tosha Skinner, Miss Western Nebraska Morgan Yost, and Miss High Plains Megan Dimmitt

Co-executive director Jay Engel says the field is an interesting mix of youth and experience; There are 5 first-time contestants and 4 who are aging out after this year; 8 were in last year's pageant, and 5 just graduated from high school.

The Miss Nebraska's Outstanding Teen competition has a field of 9 contestants, and 7 of those are from Panhandle pageants.

That group includes Miss Alliance OT BreaHanna Harlow, Miss Chadron OT Allie Boggs, Miss Gering OT Caylen Calderon, Miss Northwest OT Chelsea Arnold, Miss Panhandle OT Alexis McGlone, Miss Scotts Bluff County Fair OT Allison Baird, and Miss Western Nebraska Grace Heggem.

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