Crown­ing Suc­cess

Miss Arkansas tra­di­tion re­turns to Hot Springs

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Front Page - Story by Ali­son B. Har­bour Pho­tog­ra­phy by Richard Ras­mussen

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.”

Sloane Roberts

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.

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