Jessica Hartman is Miss Missouri 2014
Miss Springfield Jessica Hartman, 23, was named Miss Missouri 2014 at the conclusion of the state pageant Saturday night. She will receive a $10,775 college scholarship, and will represent Missouri at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City in September.
After the pageant, Hartman said she was shocked when she realized she had won. Of her fellow contestants she said, "All of these girls are fantastic. We've all worked so hard for this, so having it all come together is a wonderful feeling."
Hartman said she plans to celebrate her success with a cupcake and then get back into the gym, though she did plan to take the night off. To prepare for the national competition, she said, "I plan to go hard and make sure my body, mind and talent are the best they can be to bring Missouri to the top."
Hartman is from Colorado and attended Lindenwood University, receiving a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in communications. She will be serving as a goodwill ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network and promote her personal platform, Leaders of Tomorrow: Empowering Youth.
Hartman said she loved everything about competing in the Miss Missouri pageant, including the rush of appearing on stage. "It's do or die, you couldn't ask for a better atmosphere for the competition," she said.
The runners-up were fourth, Miss Northwest Jennifer Zweifel; third, Miss Gateway St. Louis Mary Bauer; second, Miss Joplin Kelby Czerwonka; and first, Miss Branson Jeni Dixon.
The remaining top 11 contestants were Miss Zona Rosa Darbi Fuhrman, Miss Audrain Maikieta Brantley, Miss Mark Twain Katie Moeller, people's choice Miss Chesterfield Valley Brittany Sears, Miss Metro St. Louis Jennifer Davis and Miss River City Emily Wicks.
Nonfinalists award recipients, receiving $275 scholarships given by the Missouri Local Pageants Association were Miss Missouri State University Carolyn Koepping for the Alpha group talent award, Miss Texas County Mackenzie Mattix for the Sigma group talent award, Miss St. Joseph Cheyenne Parks for the Alpha group swim wear award, Miss Midland Empire Riley Bradley for the Sigma group swim wear award, Miss Heartland Madison Chambers for the Alpha group interview award and Miss Spirit of St. Louis Marissa Balmas for the Sigma group interview.
Miss Missouri 2013 Shelby Ringdahl said goodbye to her title, the Miss Missouri Organization and the people who supported her over her reigning year by singing a farewell song, lyrically asking "Please don't forget about me."
Mexico native and local miracle Taylor Carr was named a Miss Missouri Little Sister. Since the partnership began, the Miss America Organization has contributed more than $10,000,000 to the Children's Miracle Network. Carr's mother credits CMN for contributing to Taylor's recovery. During intermission, $767.35 was collected in donations from those in attendance for CMN.
Ed Peterson, a member of the Miss America Organization board of directors, attended the pageant Saturday to bring greetings and congratulations on the 75th anniversary from the national organization. He presented a plaque to Chair of the Board Linda Huffman and Executive Director Anne Williams.
A special part of the evening's production was the return of nearly 20 former titleholders, ranging from Miss Missouri 1962 Dr. Sandra House to Ringdahl. The women were honored at a reception before the pageant, and then were introduced to the crowd.
While the parade in downtown Mexico was cancelled due to rain, all present contestants and former titleholders gathered in Barnard Hall on the Missouri Military Academy campus for a meet and greet event.
The 75th anniversary museum, with items collected by Ann Jolly and her committee, was a highlight of the celebration. The displays included a montage of photographs of all but three of the 75 previous Miss Missouris and the loving cup won by the first Miss Missouri.