Preliminary events continued Wednesday night in the
Miss North Carolina Pageant
, and it is not known how the tiarra tussle of the past will affect the pageant's future.
Wednesday morning featured talent rehearsals. Already, contestants in this year's pageant knew they were singing to a different tune.
With last year's crown controversy, many felt the pressure to impress.
"We really have to show everyone what this organization is about," said Jacqueline Smith, Miss Moore County, "and work on the reputation being better and stronger."
The beauty battle has been in the headlines for nearly a year. 2002 winner Rebekah Revels resigned after her former fiance threatened to make topless photos public. First runner-up Misty Clymer took over the title. Then a judge said no one should be recognized.
This year's program makes no mention of the controversy, and in its list of former winners, the 2002 winner was left off.
The pageant also was left without its major benefactor.
"Naturally, the controversy did play a role in this year's campaign and contribution situation," said Chief Hostess Kay Dickinson. "But we're hopeful we do such a great job, that will be in the past."
Other contributors helped out. Scholarship money for the winner is $2,000 more than last year. Still, seven local pageants are not participatng this year.
Without a clear-cut queen, the pageant turned to a Miss North Carolina from 40 years ago. Jeanne Swanner Robertson, a humorist and nationally-known speaker, will crown the 2003 winner.
"I've been practicing my pageant wave and holding my stomach in and smiling," said Swanner Robertson, the 1963 winner. "I'd put Vaseline on my teeth, but my husband said: 'Could you find your teeth when it was all over?'"
Saturday night, a new Miss North Carolina will reign, but lawsuits from last year's winner linger on.
The pageant will not be televised. The pageant has not landed a TV deal since 1997. Tickets are still available for Saturday's pageant at Memorial Auditorium for $30 each.
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