By Brenda Tollett

Associate Editor

With less than nine weeks remaining until the 2011 Miss Ada and Ada’s Outstanding Teen will be crowned, excitement among participants is growing.

“Girls have started asking about it and are excited,” said Linda Cowart, co-chairman of the event with her husband, Bruce.

“This year’s contestants may download applications from the pageant’s Website,, she said. “Deadline for applications to be submitted is Dec. 1.”

Contestants without access to the Internet may contact Cowart at 399-7227 for an application.

This year’s pageant takes place Jan. 8 at the Hallie Brown Ford Center on the East Central University campus. However, preparation for the event begins long before then.

Orientation for the girls is at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Ada Arts and Heritage Center. “We then begin the process of helping the girls prepare and be ready for the competition,” Cowart said.

Miss Ada Pageant’s history began in the 1920s, however records do not reveal how long the pageant continued or who the winners were, according to Becky McKenzie. Derrelyn Metz was Miss Ada in 1952, Wendy Lillard in 1959 and after the crowning of Rita Harp Cloar in 1965 records are more complete for winners of the pageant.

McKenzie began helping Jim and Judy Tipton, directors of the pageant from 1970-1985, while a student in high school and continued while in college.

“Jim and Judy could do it all,” she said. “They were multi-talented.”

Judy Tipton was drama teacher at Byng and Jim Tipton was an art teacher at Ada Junior High School. They both had theater background and could work lighting and sound for the pageant. Tipton Printing, owned by Jim’s family, printed the pageant programs for many years, McKenzie said.

When the Tiptons retired as directors of the pageant and moved to Florida, the Miss Ada pageant died. While many of the Tiptons’ supporters in the past pageants were disappointed to see an end to the pageant, McKenzie said no one person felt up to the challenge of running the pageant.

However, Cowart said six or seven years ago Jack Cooper, regional director for Oklahoma pageants and former Hayes School principal, asked several women in Ada to revive the Miss Ada pageant. Taylor Treat, Miss Oklahoma 2009, was the first Miss Ada since 1985. Stacy DePrater, Miss Ada 1985, gave up her crown after 21 years.

In addition to representing Ada at the Miss Oklahoma pageant, winners of the Miss Ada pageant win scholarship money as well as other prizes.

In addition to the Cowarts, other Miss Ada and Ada’s Outstanding Teen board members include Evelyn Martin, Rita Cloar, Paula Kedy, Stacey Golightly, Cortney Matlock, Shawn Howard, Lynn Pyrum, Debbie Treat and Janet Wilburn.

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