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THE CROWNING OF SUMMER

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Pilot story

and photos by

Bill Schlichting

Using the same talent contest scenario used by her sister Brooke in 1999, Summer Worlton impressed the judges and, like her sister, was crowned Azalea Festival queen Saturday night.

Ironically, as in previous years, the princess with what sounded like the loudest cheering section was selected first runner up. Winning the award was Jaime Sanders.

Kimberly Hodges was given the award for highest ticket sales. Cassandra Taylor was chosen Miss Congeniality. Also competing in the pageant was Lindsey Rapraeger.

The Brookings-Harbor High School gym was decorated with a South Pacific theme. Once the spotlight beamed onto the stage, the princesses stomped onto the stage in their opening dance routine.

Following introduction of the masters of ceremony and the judges, each princess came onto the stage alone to perform for the talent competition.

Taylor came onto the stage first, performing an acrobatic dance routine, which she choreographed herself. She danced to the song "To Follow Your Dreams" from "Save the Last Dance."

Worlton followed with an interactive video of her life story. Her image was projected onto a screen. When her image walked off the screen, she walked out from behind the screen, making it appear the projection had come to life.

Unlike the talent presentation of the past by her elder sibling, Worlton had a second screen that created the effect of a crystal ball. She conversed with the image, which was of herself, in the ball.

Hodges gave a slide show that corresponded to the music she performed on clarinet, which included instrumental background arranged by local musicians. She performed the tune "Kokomo."

Rapraeger was the only princess to perform off stage. She played a classical piano piece.

Looking and sounding like a chorus girl, Sanders sang "Hey Big Spender" accompanied by vocal music instructor Jerry Moffit on piano. Sanders's routine brought laughter to the audience about 400 people.

In the next segment the princesses introduced themselves in street attire. A walk down the runway followed each introduction.

Four of the girls wore dressy clothes, which were to reflect their personalities. However, Sanders again brought cheering when she walked out on the runway looking chic and wearing shades.

In the final segment of what the public saw of the judging, the princesses were introduced in evening gowns. Each was escorted onto the stage by men in uniform from U.S. Coast Guard Station Chetco River.

Escorts were Boatswains Mate Third Class Alex Thompson, Seaman Ben Snyder, Fireman Michael Mueller, Seaman Anthony Hill and Seaman Shane Gentry.

One by one they were asked a question by emcee Darrell Erb. The question they were to answer was "If you were the first female president, how would you like to be remembered?" However, Erb entertained the crowd by asking a bogus question of great difficulty.

Four of the princesses were stumped and showed signs of relief when they learned they didn't have to answer the bogus question. Sanders caught Erb off guard when she began to answer it.

Responses from the real question began with Taylor saying "we need a woman to run this country," adding that she would "do everything the guys haven't been able to do."

"I would stick up for what I believe in," Worlton said. Her goal would be to care for people and make it a "better nation for us all."

Hodges's response focused on making an impression as a moral role model.

Rapraeger said she would show confidence in herself and in the country. "I would make the country more free."

"I would bring high school back to the way it used to be," exclaimed Sanders, who said she would support "education all the way."

Entertainment between segments was provided by Dance Art Studios in Crescent City and vocal soloist Lauren Johns who was accompanied by Moffit.

A piano solo also was performed by Mandi Harris of Roseburg, who also was one of the judges.

Other judges were Terrie Jo Misfeldt, Connie Nelson, Rene Kolen and Jesse Margolis.

Princesses are judged on personality, poise, projection, talent and choice of apparel. In addition to the pageant, judges met with the girls for breakfast and for interviews.

After Worlton was crowned by 2002 Queen Iris Wraith, a reception was held in the foyer.

Each princess was expected to raise a minimum of $750 for wardrobe and travel expenses. Money is raised by seeking sponsors.

A scholarship is awarded to each princess. There also is a gift presented to Miss Congeniality, a $100 savings bond for most tickets sold, and an additional scholarship for the best talent award, which was received by Worlton. These funds come from pageant ticket sales and excess money raised by the princesses.

The scholarship amounts are to be announced at a later date.

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