Pike a pageant am­bas­sador

Twelve-year-old a fix­ture at yearly con­test in Har­bour Grace

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

It is pageant time at the S.W. Moores Memo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace and 12-year-old Sa­man­tha Pike is mov­ing seam­lessly through the women com­pet­ing for the ti­tle of Miss New­found­land and Labrador.

At the far end of the sta­dium, a huge stage dressed in black and white dec­o­ra­tions sits un­der the score clock. Peo­ple are scram­bling to grab their seats for the show.

A Top-40 song is play­ing in the back­ground as Sa­man­tha moves through this fa­mil­iar en­vi­ron­ment.

Usu­ally, she car­ries a hockey bag through the sta­dium as Sa­man­tha plays both boys and girls hockey with Cee­Bees mi­nor hockey.

Tonight, how­ever, Sa­man­tha is not dressed for a sport.

In fact, she is dressed like a princess, wear­ing a choco­late brown dress with spaghetti straps.

Sa­man­tha ap­proaches each of the 10 con­tes­tants in­di­vid­u­ally, of­fer­ing a big smile and a hug. She’s as fa­mil­iar in this en­vi­ron­ment as she is on the ice.

She knows these girls, hav­ing seen them com­pete in pre­vi­ous pageants.

“It’s good when they come back,” Sa­man­tha said. “It’s like see­ing a friend.” And, they know her. Each lady of­fers a big and warm smile for Sa­man­tha. Whether it is Chelsea Ash from Paradise or Court­ney Wood­ford from Tri­ton, they all re­spond the same — with a smile and a hug.

Mak­ing pre­sen­ta­tions

On this night, she plays a big role in the cer­e­mony.

Stand­ing next to Mandi Gale, the de­part­ing Miss New­found­land and Labrador, and ra­dio per­son­al­ity Mickey T, Sa­man­tha hands out awards.

With each girl who hears her name called out, Sa­man­tha meets them with a sash, flow­ers and the award.

Just be­fore the an­nounce­ment of this year’s win­ner, Sa­man­tha and Gale share a smile.

Sa­man­tha has fond mem­o­ries of when Gale was crowned.

Grab­bing the sides of her face and look­ing sur­prise, she im­i­tates how Gale re­acted.

“I re­mem­ber her win­ning, look­ing so ex­cited, like her eyes were go­ing to pop out of her head,” said Sa­man­tha.

Sa­man­tha is the daugh­ter of Bill and Nancy Pike of Har­bour Grace.

“I didn’t think that I could in­spire some­one who is 10 years older

than me.” — Sa­man­tha Pike

Find­ing in­spi­ra­tion

Sa­man­tha holds a spe­cial place in Gale’s heart.

As sh e showed of f a slideshow of pic­tures from her year-long reign, Gale stopped on one of Sa­man­tha and her­self. A smile graces her face as she re­mem­bers the en­counter.

“Sa­man­tha is an in­spi­ra­tion be­cause she em­bod­ies a level of con­fi­dence that can be en­vied by the young and old alike,” said Gale. The Grand Falls-Wind­sor na­tive called Sa­man­tha one of her in­spi­ra­tions, and has no doubt she will hold a pro­vin­cial ti­tle some day.

“She is an ac­tive vol­un­teer and ath­lete, demon­strat­ing that the young peo­ple of this prov­ince care about their com­mu­ni­ties and their growth as in­di­vid­u­als,” she said.

Sa­man­tha was hum­ble when Gale called her a per­sonal in­spi­ra­tion.

“I didn’t think that I could in­spire some­one who is 10 years older than me,” she said.

The pageant capped off a busy week­end for the young woman.

“I hung out with them all week­end,” she said. “Ac­tu­ally, the girl that won, she was one I hoped would win.”

In the fu­ture, she said she would like to par­tic­i­pate in a pageant.

“I’m hop­ing in the next cou­ple of years to try out for Miss Teen and then I’d like to try out for Miss New­found­land and Labrador,” said Sa­man­tha.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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