International Girl to host Barry County Pageant in Cassville
Organization focuses on inner, outer natural beauty of girls
International Girl, a youth development program, will be presenting the Barry County Pageant on Feb. 4 at Crowder College in Cassville, beginning at 1 p.m.
Amanda Dover, local pageant coordinator for the organization, which focuses on girls' natural inner and outer beauty, said it will be the pageant's first time to host an event in Cassville.
Dover got involved in pageants when her daughter was about six months old. In November, her daughter, now 2 years of age, competed at an International Girl event in Springfield and won the Miss Springfield title for her age category. She was impressed with the organization and how it focused on the natural beauty and personality of girls verses superficial glitz and glamour.
"They can wear a sparkly dress if they'd like, but the judges don't like it to be high-glitz," Dover said. "Sunday best or Easter dresses is like something you'd see. It's outfit of choice.
"The Springfield competition was our first time with International Girl. Their system is completely different, with their focus on natural beauty."
Dover decided to invite event leaders to consider bringing an event to Cassville for families looking for pageant venues that typically aren't available in rural areas.
"All the time, I hear people ask, 'How do you get into pageants?'" Dover said. "So I hope it will open up doors for people around here, and they asked me to be the local coordinator. I'm excited to bring it here and hope a lot of people attend and excited to be with this system and see where it takes us."
Girls from birth to 18-plus can enter and compete in respective beauty, talent and dress competitions for each age category, Dover said. Winners will be given Barry County titles, such as Miss Barry County and Teen Miss Barry County.
"We had a winner that was 61 years old in Tulsa, Okla., last year," said Angela Rice, International Girl Missouri state coordinator. "The event is natural, not like toddlers and tiaras events. It's not based so much on the dress, but personality and how they present themselves on stage. There is no makeup on little ones."
Different rules apply for each category, Rice said. A close-up appraisal competition will be held for ages 0-6, during which judges meet the youngest contestants up-close-and-personal to become acquainted with their personalities.
"The judges will ask them questions like, 'What's their favorite color or favorite food,'" Rice said. "And, the mothers will answer the questions for the little ones. It also helps get the jitters out."
Ages 7 and up can compete in the talent and beauty categories.
"They can bring out their best talents," Rice said. "I've seen singing, dancing, comedy routines, cheers and magic shows. We see a little bit of everything. This program is based on very strong family values and leadership."
Categories are as follows:
* 0-23: months Baby Miss
* 2-3: Tiny Miss
* 4-6: Petite miss
* 7-9: Little Miss
* 10-12: Young Miss
* 13-17: Teen Miss
* 18-26 unmarried college and career: International Miss
* 18-plus married or has been married: Ms.
In each category, there will be at least four title holders, Rice said.
"This is a preliminary pageant that will lead to state competitions," she said. "That event will be in Branson in March. If they advance in state they also have a chance to enter an international competition. It's not just a regular pageant or just Missouri, it's world-wide."
Rice said cash prizes are are available, and at the state and international level, scholarships.
"At the international level, they can win a $5,000 educational scholarship," Rice said.
A collective cash sweepstakes prize will be awarded to one contestant at the event that catches the judges' eye, Dover said.
Title winners don't just win a title, they will also have opportunities to be involved in the community.
"They like to keep the girls involved," Dover said. "For example, if we have a parade, they want to get girls together for local events. Pageants become like a sisterhood and family. The girls become friends and grow with each other. It's not always about competing but building that bond with other girls as well."
A variety of vendors will be on hand during the event. The entry fee is $50 to enter the main pageantry competition. Optional competitions are available for an additional fee but not required.
Deadline to apply is Jan. 26. Vendors are still being accepted. The public is invited to attend the event. Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for children ages 4-12; ages 3 and under are free.
For more information, contestants can visit the event's local Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/j4s8zrf, and for an entry form, visit http://tinyurl.com/zr6q84u. For general information about the organization, people may visit www.internationalgirlpageant.com.
Dover can also be contacted at 417-342-9956 for information or questions.