With only one week until the start of the 2018 pageants for Miss Missouri and Miss Missouri’s Outstanding Teen, preparations are in full swing. The pageant is in its 49th year and, for one week, will host 57 contestants. Thirty will compete for the title of Miss Missouri while 27 will compete for the title of Miss Missouri’s Outstanding teen. There will also be 65 Show Me Princesses this year. This program pairs girls ages five to twelve with either a Teen contestant or a Miss contestant as their mentor.

Over $52,000 in scholarships will be awarded this year, one of the many reasons why the women choose to compete.

“It gives them the opportunity to develop a platform and work for things that they are passionate about in their communities and in the state,” said Alice Leonatti, co-executive director of the Miss Missouri and Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teens pageant.

Leonatti said skills like interviewing, public speaking and service working are ones that the women will “take with them forever.”

“Young women that tend to gravitate towards competing are women that have goals, have things that they really feel strongly about that they want to leave their community and wherever a better place because they were there,” she said.

With hundreds of people from around the state traveling to Mexico, the pageant also has an economic impact. Ken Parmar, general manager of the Best Western Teal Lake Inn in Mexico, said that, though he does not know the exact numbers, they are typically fully booked for four or five nights.

“(It is) having a good impact on the community since it's bringing some business to the town,” he said. “We always are busy, so we love that.”

The economic impact of the pageant and its visitors can be seen through hotel reservations, food service, even the sales of flower bouquets for contestants. Leonatti said local businesses have also been active participants in the pageant’s history.

“Without the scholarship donations and the advertisements and the actual things that people donate during pageant week, we wouldn't be able to have this,” she said. “It certainly is a win on our side but it's also a win for the community of Mexico because when you have this many people in your town, walking around, seeing the sights, doing things, you never know when some other positive can come out of it.” 

PAGEANT SCHEDULE:

Sunday, June 10: Miss Missouri Golf Tournament

Monday, June 11: Teen contestants will arrive and rehearsals will be held

Tuesday, June 12: rehearsals will be held and the teen contestants will participate in panel interviews; a dress rehearsal will be held at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 13: Miss Missouri contestants will participate in interviews and rehearsals will be held; the preliminary competition will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Missouri Military Academy Gymnatorium

Thursday, June 14: preliminary competition for the Teen contestants from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Missouri Military Academy Gymnatorium; Miss Missouri preliminary competition at 7:30 p.m. in the Gymnatorium

Friday, June 15: rehearsals, Miss Missouri Outstanding Teen Finals, Miss Missouri swimsuit competition; the Show Me Princesses will have a production number; the crowning of Miss Missouri’s Outstanding Teen 2019 will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Missouri Military Academy Gymnatorium

Saturday, June 16: a parade around the Square and an autograph signing session will take place at 10 a.m.; the Miss Missouri finals and crowning of Miss Missouri 2019 will take place at 7 p.m. in the Missouri Military Academy Gymnatorium