Miss Kentucky USA, Miss Kentucky Teen USA crowned at WKU

Cheers filled Van Meter Hall as pageant contestants walked onto the stage.

On Sunday evening, WKU hosted the finals for the Miss Kentucky USA and Miss Kentucky Teen USA pageant.

Gracie Sapp, from Fayette County, was crowned Miss Kentucky Teen USA and Allie Leggett, of Lake Cumberland, was crowned Miss Kentucky USA.

The winners will go on to represent Kentucky at the Miss USA and the Miss Teen USA pageants.

Elizabethtown junior Andrea Weaver said she was quite surprised by how the show turned out.

“I thought it was very interesting,” said Weaver. “I’ve never been to a pageant before, so this was a new experience for me.”

During the pageant, the contestants participated in a swimsuit competition, followed by an evening gown competition.

Then, the final 10 contestants were announced for both divisions.

After a 20-minute intermission, the judges announced the top five contestants for both divisions.

The judges then asked each of the finalists various questions, which were chosen at random.

Once the questions portion had ended, awards for Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic were given while the judges made their final decision.

On Saturday, before the final competition, the preliminary 2013 Miss Kentucky USA Teen and Miss Kentucky USA pageant was hosted in Van Meter as well.

The Miss Kentucky Teen USA pageant had 18 contestants, while the Miss Kentucky USA had 17.

Connie Harrison, executive state director of the Miss Kentucky USA and Miss Kentucky Teen USA pageant, said it’s hard seeing girls come and go in pageants, because of the relationships that are built during the weekend.

“My favorite part of the process is to work with these girls for the weekend, seeing them grow, and I really hope they remember me,” she said. 

Once a Miss Kentucky USA herself, she said she knows some girls do it for fun, while others are more competitive.

“Even though they’re in a beauty pageant, it’s still a competition,” she said.

There were swimsuit and evening gown competitions at this preliminary pageant as well.

After those, the contestants wore their favorite dress with a Derby hat and daisies, provided by the WKU Floral Department.

Tiffany Cline, Miss Teen Kentucky USA of 2012, spoke at the event and said she knew the girls backstage were probably nervous. Cline offered them words of advice.

“I would just tell them to relax, have fun; because it goes by really, really fast,” she said.

Amanda Mertz, Miss Kentucky USA of 2012, said the best memory she had was sharing the experience with Cline.

“This year has been life changing,” she said.