2018-02-01 / News

Six Vie for Miss I-500 Title in Friday Night Pageant

By Erich T. Doerr

The annual Miss I-500 pageant will take place Friday, February 2, at 7 p.m. in the DreamMakers Theater at Sault Ste. Marie’s Kewadin Casino. The pageant is free to attend, with a fundraising audience choice award as part of the event to raise money for the Pink Ribbon Riders. The winning Miss I-500 and the three runner-up princesses that will serve on her court will represent the snowmobile race at events throughout the next year.

The Miss I-500 pageant this year will feature six entrants seeking the title, with all of them hailing from local Eastern Upper Peninsula communities. This year’s participants will be Ally Hoolsema of Kinross, Zoey Hall and Alivia Teeple of Brimley, and Whitney McKenzie, Missy Buhro, and Maddy Mahalski from Sault Ste. Marie. Pageant Director Amanda Kemp is pleased with how this year’s pageant is shaping up.

“Things are looking really good” this year, Mrs. Kemp said. “We’ve got probably the best crew of volunteers [operating the event] we’ve ever had.”

Friday’s program will feature three rounds, with each of the entrants wearing a costume in the first one that represents their personality, their hobbies, sports they compete in, or a career they hope to have in the future. The second round will be an onstage interview, with the third featuring the contestants donning evening gowns with winter accents such as faux fur or boots that fit the theme of the I-500 race. Before the pageant, each entrant will submit an essay, a resume, and an autobiography to the pageant organizers before taking part in a closed interview. The questions in the interview will be taken from the materials provided.

Friday’s pageant will feature three competitions, with the main Miss I- 500 contest for young women between the ages of 16 and 21. Younger participants will take part in the I-500 Princess competition for children aged four to 11 and the Junior Miss I-500 competition for girls between the ages of 12 and 15. There will be a total of 22 girls taking part in the Junior Miss and I-500 Princess pageants. Each of the pageants will feature the girls dressed up on stage. The Junior Miss pageant features its contestants in evening gowns, while the Princess pageant uses party dresses.

The audience choice competition will include participants in all three pageants. Containers will be set up at the back of the pageant area labeled with the name of each contestant. Members of the audience can make donations to the Pink Ribbon Riders through these cans as they vote for their favorite participants, and each dollar donated equals one vote. The girls who receive the most votes will be awarded with the audience choice honors. The Pink Ribbon Riders will use all of the funds raised through the contest to help local women with breast cancer with non-medical expenses during their treatments.

This year’s I-500 is the 50th anniversary running of the famous snowmobile race. To honor the occasion, the Miss I-500 pageant will hold a special “tournament of champions” this year with its former winners returning to the event to compete against each other in a bid to take the title of “Queen of Queens.” At least three former Miss I-500s will return to be part of the event. The participants will each turn in an essay about how being Miss I- 500 changed their life, along with a photograph album recounting their tenure in the role.

The girls taking part in the Miss I- 500 pageant this year will join with each other again later this year as a Relay for Life team during another charitable event. The group will also continue the pageant’s work with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). DAV officials will attend the pageant Friday to make a surprise presentation.

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