PRATT — The next Miss America could come from Barton County. The next step toward the title is the Miss Kansas Pageant, which starts today at Pratt and concludes Saturday. Twenty-five women will compete, including two from Great Bend.
Local entries are Bonny Boultinghouse, “Miss Heartland”; and Taylor Fry, “Miss Barton County.”
Contestants are competing for college scholarships as well as the state title. The pageant experience includes community service, and each contestant must develop a performance talent and champion a platform by expressing her personal views on critical issues.
Fry, 18, is the daughter of Angie and Jeff Fry. She will play piano for the talent portion of the contest. Her platform is: The Importance of Childhood Music Education.
Boutlinghouse, 18, is the daughter of Jill and Shane Boultinghouse. Her talent is tap and singing. Her platform is: 3G Network: Go, Give, Gain.
Both are graduates of Great Bend High School.
The talent competition starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Evening gown and swim suit competition start at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and the finals on Saturday start at 8 p.m. Seats can be reserved online at www.misskansas.org.
Contestants have been in Pratt since Sunday working on the many aspects of the show, including a ’70s production number for Saturday night.
On Wednesday they had their personal interviews with the judges. This unseen part of the program weighs heavily on the judges’ decision for the new Miss Kansas.
Other events include a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Pratt. Pageant contestants will stop at businesses on Main Street after the parade to sign autographs. Boultinghouse will be at Joey’s Barbershop and Fry will be at Skaggs Hardware.
Great Bend hosted its first regional pageant in over 20 years last March. In addition to naming Fry Miss Barton County, the judges selected Kaiti Hemann from Hugoton as Miss Golden Belt. Hemann, 21, is the daughter of Stephanie and Brian Hemann. Her talent is piano and her platform is: Be a Hero! Stop Bullying.