Miss Arkansas tradition returns to Hot Springs
A long-celebrated tradition in the Spa City, Miss Arkansas returns to Summit Arena in July featuring young women from across the state who will compete for scholarships, the prestigious title, and a chance to be Miss America 2014.
The pageant also provides a forum for contestants to express their opinions, talent and intelligence.
“The state of Arkansas is so loving and so generous to the contestants every year and has supported me for who I am,” says Sloane Roberts, the reigning Miss Arkansas 2012.
Roberts will crown her successor following three nights of preliminary competition and the finals July 17-20 at Summit Arena.
“The new Miss Arkansas will have a completely different journey, and that’s exciting,” Roberts said.
Immediately after she is named the state’s ambassador of goodwill, the newly crowned Miss Arkansas will be swept up in a
whirlwind of activities.
Unlike the past, she will have only five weeks, not months, to prepare for her competition at Miss America 2014, which has returned to its home in Atlantic City, N.J., after seven years in Las Vegas.
Miss America, a 13-day event, will follow Labor Day weekend and culminate with the televised pageant on Sept. 15 at Boardwalk Hall.
“Whoever is crowned Miss Arkansas will go straight into her media week, and then straight into fittings for what she will wear, rigorous workout routines, talent practices, and interview practices so she can go to Miss America ready to win,” Roberts said.
Roberts represented Arkansas in January at Miss America 2013 in Las Vegas and was named Miss Congeniality.
“I had six months to prepare for Miss America, which is a good thing because you feel like you have enough time to prepare but, at the same time, the first six months were torn between preparing for Miss America and trying to be Miss Arkansas,” she said.
“After Miss America, I could just enjoy being Miss Arkansas and do the things I wanted to do, emphasize my platform more (with the Morgan Nick Foundation), speak at churches more and really
“The state of Arkansas is so loving and so generous to the contestants every year and has supported me for who I am…The new Miss Arkansas will have a completely different journey, and that’s exciting.”
reigning Miss Arkansas 2012
implement my faith in everything I speak to, whether it is a high school group, elementary group or a church,” she said.
The pageant has sent representatives to the Miss America Pageant since 1938. The state pageant was held in various cities in east Arkansas prior to 1957.
It moved permanently to Hot Springs in 1957, at which time the competition was held at Oaklawn Park, in an outdoor setting, before the Hot Springs Convention Auditorium was built.
For more than 40 years, the pageant was under the direction of Bob Wheeler, a Hot Springs businessman and civic leader.
Wheeler said in 2003 that the focus of building the auditorium probably sprang from contestants competing at the outdoor venue because there was no other place to hold the pageant. “It would get a little rough out there because they were in tents,” he had said.
In its present format, the Miss Arkansas competition continues to have a positive impact on the local community.
“When you consider all of the contestants, family members and fans who come to Hot Springs for the competition, and add in all of the publicity before and after the event, it is great for our community and our local economy,” says Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs.
“Countless volunteers work this event each year, and each year the show is better than the last. From the infield of Oaklawn Park to the stage at Summit Arena, it is a part of the history of Hot Springs.”
Miss Arkansas 2011 Kristen Glover crowns Miss Heart of the Ozarks Sloane Roberts as Miss Arkansas 2012 during the pageant at Summit Arena.
Miss Arkansas Sloane Roberts, of Rison, talks to Lakeside High School Future Business Leaders of America in September 2012.