Miss Kansas City's Outstanding Teen Christina Stratton took home the title of Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen for 2016, after performing a ballet routine to “Dancing Queen” as one of 11 finalists selected Friday night.
Stratton, who said she is anxious and excited to begin her work as this year's titleholder, counts both Miss Missouri 2015 McKensie Garber and Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen 2015 Alexis Piskulic as her role models.
“I've been super inspired by last year's Miss Missouri and Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen. I felt like they were both kind role models - they were genuine and loving and compassionate to everybody, so that's who I hope to emulate throughout my next year.”
The first runner-up in the competition was Miss Queen City's OT Rachel Spurling, who performed a lyrical dance to “If I can Dream;” second runner-up was Miss Metro St. Louis' OT Claire Rowe, who performed a tap dance to “Dancin' Fool;” third runner-up was Miss Gateway St. Louis' OT Megan Pennington, who performed a piano solo of “Chopsticks;” and fourth runner-up was Miss Branson's OT Heleena Haberer, who performed a lyrical dance. Spurling also received recognition for raising the most funds for the Children's Miracle Network.
Other top 11 contestants who performed in the talent portion Friday night included Miss River City's OT Demi King, who performed a jazz dance to “Get this Party Started;” Miss Chesterfield's OT Sophia Reiss, who performed an en pointe ballet routine to “Never Fully Dressed;” Miss Crown City's OT Ashley Whipple, who performed a piano solo; Miss St. Joseph's OT Taylor Blackwell, who sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow;” Miss Greater Springfield's OT Addyson Wilgus, who performed a jazz dance to “Have you Ever Seen the rain;” and Miss Northwest's OT Kaitlyn Rigdon, who performed a beat box tap dance routine.
The program's “Little Sisters” and “Little Princesses” also danced onstage alongside their mentors for several production numbers Friday. With a sponsorship fee of $400 for each child, the Little Sisters and Little Princesses programs bolster the funding for the scholarships awarded during the Miss Missouri pageant. Girls ages 5-12 are eligible to participate in the programs.
One young girl in the audience, seven-year-old Sunny Wright, said the contestants' outfits and dance performances were her favorite part of the pageant. “It's like they're wearing Barbie dresses,” Sunny said, adding, “I wish they were my sisters.”
Before the winner of the pageant was announced, Piskulic performed a baton twirling routine.
Through a voiceover speech, she told the audience about overcoming her battle with an anxiety disorder to compete in the Miss Missouri pageant and win the OT crown last year. “It was the start of an amazing year that I will cherish forever,” she said. She said she hopes her story will help destigmatize mental illness among her peers.
An afterparty for the contestants was held at the Mexico Country Club, but following all of the excitement on stage, Stratton said she had just two objectives: “I'm looking forward to just seeing my family and getting a big drink of water,” she said.