Preparations have already begun for the 2007 Miss Ada Pageant, to be held in February at Ada High School Cougar Activity Center. Last year marked the return of the pageant after several years of being on hiatus.

Rita Cloar, 1965 Miss Ada winner and member on the Miss Ada Board of Directors, said expectations are high for the upcoming event.

“We expect the Miss Ada Pageant to be even bigger and better than last year,” Cloar said. “That may be a difficult task to achieve. The talent and the beauty from all contestants last year exceeded our expectations, especially considering it was the first pageant since the 1970s.”

Last year the Miss Ada Pageant was resurrected to allow 15 young women the chance to earn cash and prizes, in addition to competing in the Miss Oklahoma Pageant. Taylor Treat was crowned the 2006 winner.

“We can't say enough about the extremely positive response of the community last year,” Cloar said. “The retail merchants were so giving in assisting us to provide the awards to the girls and handling the ticket sales. The schools responded immediately in getting the word out to potential contestants and the media provided continuous information and updates. Last, but certainly not least, the audience was extremely enthusiastic and supportive. I really believe they might have stayed a little longer to enjoy the beauty and the wonderful talent displayed on stage.”

According to Cloar, the age range for contestants is 17 to 24, and if they're 17, the contestant must be a senior in high school.

Applications are available at the Ada Area Chamber of Commerce, the office of the Dean of Students at East Central University, and in the counselor's office at any county high school, with a deadline of Jan. 14.

Prizes will vary from local merchants, but Cloar said scholarship money will be awarded to all contestants.

“There will be scholarship money for all participants as well as the awards from our local merchants,” she said. “And, of course, for the one designated as Miss Ada, there will be the adventure of competing in the Miss Oklahoma Pageant. Miss Ada will also participate in local activities in our community such as the East Central University homecoming parade, the Silver Tea and the Parade of Lights and many others.”

Cloar said that as a former contestant of the Miss Ada Pageant, a lot can be experienced during these competitions the young women may not get anywhere else.

“As a former Miss Ada, I can truly say that there's so much to be gained from participating in an event like this,” she said. “Yes, it's the nature of all of us to want to win, but even if that doesn't happen, there's so much to be gained for each contestant. Friendship, scholarship money, the challenge of learning ‘the ropes’, pushing oneself out of the ‘comfort zone;’ receiving the love and support of the audience and reaching down deep inside of oneself to do the best we can is not just a ‘pageant thing,’ but something each of us do throughout our lives. It does sound corny, but the skills learned and practiced are those that carry on throughout life.”

For more information regarding the Miss Ada Pageant, or for local merchants interested in donating scholarship money or prizes, contact Pat Sutton at (580) 421-1054.

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