Two royalty titles, 12 contestants
Three local women vie for Miss Tulare County, Miss Central Valley
Three local women — Breanna York of Porterville, McKenzi Blue of Lindsay and Hanna Risvold of Springville — are in the running for one of two titles, Miss Tulare County 2013 and Miss Central Valley 2013. Both titles are the official preliminaries leading to Miss California and Miss America.
York, Blue and Risvold will join nine other contestants for the Miss Tulare County Pageant on March 2 for the opportunity to represent the county and the Valley in the Miss California pageant. Simultaneously, the women will vie for a portion of more than $15,000 of scholarship awards.
Miss Tulare County wins $4,000 in scholarship money, plus $1,000 to help her get to the Miss California pageant. Miss Central Valley receives $2,000 plus $1,000 toward the Miss California pageant. First place wins $1,000 and second place, $750 in scholarships. In addition, all of the other contestants will receive $500 each.
There are also numerous other scholarships which can be won individually.
“There’s the opportunity to win another $2,500 on top of that, depending on scholastic and grade point average,” said June Amaral, executive director of the Miss Tulare County Scholarship.
In addition, contestants learn or polish up on numerous skills along the way, including interview skills and learning to write a platform — an issue each contestant is passionate about.
The transformation of the candidates is also amazing, she said.
“The change we see in them during the short time, from when we take them to when they are finalists — about three months — is night and day. They grow by leaps and bounds,” Amaral said. The contestants will be judged on poise, presentation, community service, an intense interview, artistic impression or talent, physical fitness and swimsuit presentation, and overall composition and on-stage knowledge.
York, daughter of Randy and Kim York of Porterville, has chosen “Beauty Within” as her platform issue.
York is concerned with the high number of suicide deaths in Tulare County and said she believes it stems from a lack of hope and true understanding of “Beauty Within” in the community.
“As Miss Tulare County, I intend to speak about hope and a promising future to young people. I do believe as we encourage them, they will become successful adults,” York said, adding that she wants to create further awareness of suicide and depressing in the community. “I plan to motivate and inspire my generation and younger.”
York said she would like to partner with the Tulare County Suicide Task Force and CASA organization to step out and make a difference in children’s lives while offering them hope in a hopeless place.
York, who traveled to Mexico to build homes for the Rancho de sus Ninos, is the recipient of a student representative award for outstanding service as class president. She attended Burton Pathways Charter High School where she was class president, Bethel School of Ministry and Porterville College. She will perform a dance ballet lyrical of “God Speaking” by Mandisa.
Risvold’s platform is one that is close to her heart. With a platform of “Hometown Heroes,” Risvold will honor the memory of two close friends — Douglas Jeffries Jr. and Alejandro Jose Prado who gave their lives while serving for the United States Army — and other local veterans.
“If my friends had the strength to fight for our freedom, then I would make the strength to fight for their memory,” Risvold said. “My plan as Miss Tulare County is to help the local communities understand that our freedom is not free, and we will be forever in debt to our local veterans who risked their lives for our freedom. My platform is to honor all hometown heroes that fought for my right to stand on the stage and compete for the title of Miss Tulare County.”
Daughter of Craig and Michele Risvold, she is a registered nursing student at Porterville College and has a goal of being a pediatrician.
Risvold was a scholar athlete from 2005 to 2009, the FFA Creed Speaking Regional winner in 2005, in the Phi Theta Kappa Honorary Society, Deans List 2009, President Honor List 2010, Academic Competitiveness Grant for carrying a 4.0 grade point average, was named Student of the Year in 2011, and received early admittance into the nursing program.
Risvold, a 10-year retired 4-H member, is also a civilian marksman with the National Rifle Association. She plans to partner with the veterans homecoming queen committee to organize and participate in events honoring local veterans. In additional, her plan includes creating and installing veterans’ memorial walls in communities that do not have one.
McKenzi Blue is in the process of obtaining her master’s in teacher education at the University of La Verne, where she carries a 4.0 grade point average.
Daughter of longtime Lindsay residents Vahnn and Lori Blue, her accomplishments include being the Lindsay Orange Blossom Festival Queen, Lindsay High’s Cheer MVP, and earning an FFA Chapter Farmer Award. Her talent at the pageant will consist of a theatrical dance to “Show me how you Burlesque.”
A 2008 graduate of Lindsay High School, Blue has traveled to Ecuador to see and experience all aspects of the Ecuadorian culture. Her plan is to obtain her master’s, teach elementary school, and eventually collaborate with school faculty to expand and benefit public education.
Blue’s platform is on expanding programs designated to providing enrichment activities for students who achieve beyond the average student requirements. She intends to revive the GATE — Gifted and Talented Education — program.
“My efforts will be to reintroduce GATE to teachers and other school faculty,” she said. “As an educator and a title holder of a national organization, I have the ability to greatly ensure student achievement is being recognized,” Blue said. “Success is what leads to students building their self-esteem and reaching towards achieving higher efforts such as becoming Miss America.”
The Miss Tulare County pageant begins at 7 p.m. March 2 at L.J. Williams Theater, 1001 W. Main St., Visalia.
Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $10 for students with school identification card, and available at the door.
Visit http://www.misstularecounty.com/ for more information.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.