SHELLEY — Several hundred people packed into the Civic Auditorium to watch who would be crowned Miss Russet 2021-22 from the 14 contestants vying for the title.
The night of pageantry, grace, and talent cumulated into the crowning of Miss Russet. As stillness fell on the audience, Alexis Leckington was named Miss Russet 2021-22.
“I was nervous the whole night, but now I feel great, I am happy, and all the stress is gone,” the newly crowned Leckington said. “But, now I have to go do all the things I am excited to do.”
First Runner Up was Lizzy Ricks, with the Second Runner Up going to Gracey Pettingill. Brooke Hess won Third Runner Up, while Alexis Leckington won Miss Congeniality. Kalin Caroll was picked as the most photogenic. Awards for the Most Ticket Sales and Spirit of Shelley went to Taylor Ottley.
“I thought tonight was amazing. I thought everyone was amazing, ” Pettingill said.
Pageant Director Christine Nelson said the pageant turned out perfectly.
“I thought all the girls did a wonderful job. They nailed all of their talents. It was so fun to see how much they improved from the preliminaries,” Nelson said.
But the night was not happiness and smiles for everyone. The newly crowned Miss Russet’s father was beside himself with stress.
“I told my wife, I have been with my boys to seven State football Championships, and this is the most stressed I have ever been in my life,” Shawn Leckington said. “I just hoped nobody was looking at me as I was just jittery.”
The pageant began with Greg Nelson as MC. His almost-PG humor throughout the night delighted the crowd with snickers and laughs.
The first event of the evening was the contestants’ physical fitness routine. Terra Hulse choreographed this workout dance. It was an African-themed dance called “Waka Waka,” keeping in line with the pageant’s theme “Wild at Heart.”
The fast-paced program then moved to the talent portion of the pageant. The first talent was by Zoey Carter, who performed a vocal solo while playing the guitar. She was followed by Halle Russell, who performed a lyrical dance solo.
Next, Morgan Stanger entertained the hall by playing a piano solo. She was followed by Kaylin Carroll, who performed a vocal solo. Kaylin performed this solo wearing a full evening gown, which her mother made. In fact, all of Kaylin’s dresses were made by her mother, Sweenlin Caroll.
Ashlynn Peebles performed a lyrical ballet. Gracey Pettingill sang a vocal solo while playing the guitar. Taylor Ottley performed a piano piece. Addey Greenhalgh changed up the entertainment by playing the violin. Brook Hess performed a vocal solo.
Alexis Leckington livened up the evening with a clogging dance solo. Katelyn Anderson followed with a hip-hop dance solo based on music she and her uncle put together. Daisy Johnson then performed her piano solo. The talent portion of the night concluded with Harley Briggs performing a lyrical dance solo and Lizzy Ricks performing a vocal solo.
The reigning Miss Russet Tenlee Williams once again performed her talent “Lago Ta Tate,” a hula dance, which helped her win the pageant a year ago.
Poise and Appearance
A visual presentation of the Miss Russet Contestants began the final segment of the pageant. A video tribute to the girls showed each of them growing up through a montage of still photographs set to “You are the Heart of Me.” Sheri Baron of Baron Photography created this video.
After Poise and Appearance, the contestants returned to the stage to thank their hostesses with various tributes.
The contestants were then brought to the stage, and while holding hands, waited to hear who would be the new Miss Russet and her court.
Miss Russet and all the contestants will be in the Spud Day at the parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 18. Miss Russet and her court will perform their talent on stage at Dawn Loyd Park shortly after 12 p.m.