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LETTER TO THE EDTIOR: Local pageant set apart from others

I would like to respond to the article in Tuesday's Pioneer about the Miss United States Pageant. As the local director for the Miss Bemidji and Miss Northern Lakes pageant, I would like to clarify the statements made in the article about the pageant systems available to young women. The community of Bemidji has been supporting Miss Bemidji and Miss Northern Lakes as well as our teen titles for the last five years. As a local affiliate to the Miss America system, our sole focus is on the four points of the crown: Scholarship, Style, Service and Success. Miss America was founded in 1921 and is the oldest pageant in America.

As a Miss America organization local pageant, there are many things that set us apart from other systems. Locally, we award educational scholarships to our title holders; in the last five years we have awarded $4,500 in scholarships as well as additional prizes and entrance into the state completion. The Miss Minnesota scholarship program awarded over $24,000 last year alone.

While many pageant systems are owned and subsequently charge high fees to their participants ($500 plus crown and sash purchase for Miss Minnesota United States, per the Miss Minnesota United States website or nearly $900 for Miss Minnesota USA), Miss America and all of its state and local affiliates are non-profit.

As stated prior, our local title holders receive scholarships, have opportunities to volunteer in our community as well as gain access to success building workshops and more. I hope in the future the Pioneer will support and promote the local pageant in Bemidji, rather than a pageant in another city.