On Saturday, January 6, Muscatine held the annual Miss Muscatine/Miss Muscatine’s Outstanding Teen competition. This competition was open to ages 13-25. Women competing in the Miss category are ages 17-25 and teens are ages 13-17.


Each year the attempt is to have a closed competition, meaning that only Muscatine County residents can compete, including those who attend school full time or work full time in Muscatine County. This year only three Muscatine residents participated, which means the competition was not closed and was opened up to other counties to compete for the Miss Muscatine title.


Judges for the competition on Saturday were Chelsey Ridge Dolan, Frances Maus, Adrienne Wheeler, Corey Freeman, Sharon DeRycke, Greg Aguilar, and Anne Langguth.


Competing in pageants requires more than the stereotypes generally portrayed. Pageants benefit young women in many different ways. They help contestants gain confidence in themselves, learn how to speak to people they don’t know, bring them outside of their comfort zone, cultivate public speaking skills, and get involved with a campaign that raises money for a charitable cause, all skills that are relevant in today’s society.


The contestants are judged on interview, evening gown, talent, on-stage question, and fitness/swimsuit categories.


Money raised for the pageant is put toward the scholarships that winners receive. Money is raised by fundraising efforts and sponsors.


“These women work hard at not only being great titleholders and being involved in the community, but they also raise money for the program,” says Kendra Plett, Executive Director of the pageant.


Winners of Saturday’s competition are, Maggie Gehlsen, Miss Muscatine, Jessica Baker, Miss Pearl City, Peyton Crumly Miss Muscatine’s Outstanding Teen, and Elise Seery,Miss Pearl City’s Outstanding Teen. Miss Muscatine and Miss Pearl City will go on to compete at the Miss Iowa pageant in June. Miss Iowa will then go on to compete at the Miss America pageant in September.


“The growth these women make in one year is so remarkable and rewarding to see,” says Plett.


Besides scholarships, the girls receive a discount package from LeChic Prom and Pageant in Muscatine. They also receive fitness training from 8ONE8 fitness, and Mississippi Pearl Photography takes their headshots and wall portraits for the lobby. They receive full prep for the state competition. New titleholders receive a wardrobe allowance to help make those purchases for the state competition.


This year, the past Miss Muscatine board is donating $700 for wardrobe in memory of Vickie Webber-Anderson, who passed away this past year. Vickie was honored at the Miss Muscatine Pageant this year with a song sung in her memory by Chris Ridge.


The Miss Muscatine program is looking for more local girls to participate. If you have questions or are interested, you can contact Kendra Plett at (563) 299-2905.