Linked talks shop with Miss Choctaw 2016 and the Directors of the Miss Choctaw and Miss EOC Pageants
Poise, confidence and beauty were all evident in the 2016 Miss Choctaw Pageant.
This year’s pageant featured a bevy of talented, driven local women participating in what director Cyndi Heath called “a fun event.” For those unfamiliar with the scholarship competition, the Miss Choctaw Pageant has been a fixture in the community since 1982. The event is a scholarship pageant meant to help young women build self-esteem, discipline and self-confidence. Miss Choctaw is broken up into three different contests—the Little Miss Choctaw Pageant, the Junior Miss Choctaw Pageant and the Miss Choctaw Pageant. Unlike the Miss EOC Pageant, the winner of Miss Choctaw does not go on to compete for Miss Oklahoma, but rather utilizes her title within the local community.
This year’s pageant brought together bright and ambitious local ladies vying for the pageant’s crown. Heath noted that although the event was a competition, she told the 16 contestants to depends on their natural beauty and focus on having a good time. Unlike the stereotypical cutthroat pageant shows and movies, Heath stressed that this pageant encouraged local young women to rely on their poise and intelligence—two key factors for acing the interview portion of the pageant—rather than gallons of hairspray and tons of makeup. Heath also noted the character of the 2016 contestants, most evident when she walked backstage before the pageant and saw the girls helping one another prepare.
“Seeing the girls helping each other, encouraging each other warmed my heart,” Heath said. “It seemed like everyone was always helping one another.”
This year’s winner of the Miss Choctaw Pageant was Kelsey Slagle. Sitting down with Slagle, her preparation and aplomb were evident. When asked about the interview portion of the pageant—a segment similar to a job interview in its questions and nerve-inducing stakes— Slagle said, “I knew I would be Choctaw’s PR person, so I wanted to make sure my answers were well-thought-out.”
Indeed, every detail, from the interview questions to the talent portion (Slagle showcased her dance routine) to the makeup, was scrutinized by Slagle and her support team—her mother and best friend. Interestingly, there was one act that set Slagle apart—a handshake. Slagle said that when she walked into the judges’ room for the first time, she approached each judge and shook their hand—an act that helped relieve her nerves. A handshake may seem like something a seasoned pageant participant would do; however, the 2016 Miss Choctaw Pageant was Slagle’s first pageant.
“I’m unfamiliar with pageants,” Slagle said. “I’d never been in one before this one, so it was all new to me.”
Though a novice, Slagle’s performance as both a talented dancer and an enigmatic interviewee helped her stand out. As with her laser focus when preparing for the pageant, Slagle talked with similar care about her future plans. When asked what she wanted to do after graduating from high school, Slagle said she wanted to major in nursing, work as an RN and then eventually go on to become a Nurse Practitioner.
As Miss Choctaw, Slagle acts as the face of Choctaw at events such as the Nicoma Park middle school pageant, the Prague Kolache Festival, various local ribbon cuttings and Frontier Days. In addition to her Miss Choctaw responsibilities, Slagle has high school academics, college classes and work to fill up her schedule. When she’s not busy with the aforementioned activities, Slagle said she enjoyed playing games with her family—“Give me a deck of cards and I can show you 50 games with it”—and pursuing her other passion—dancing.
When asked if she enjoyed her first pageant, Slagle provided an answer that not only underscored her composure but also highlighted a deep respect for her community.
“I enjoyed the pageant,” Slagle said. “When I was in the meeting with the judges and they asked if I had any questions, I wanted to tell them that I was so thankful for the opportunity. I told them that even if I don’t win, this will be something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I think that’s so important. The opportunity to go in front of the people in my community and show them my talent; it’s such an amazing feeling.”
For more information about the Miss Choctaw Pageant, visit misschoctawpageant.com.
Pageant season is upon Choctaw! Different from the Miss Choctaw Pageant, the Miss EOC Pageant funnels its winners to the Miss Oklahoma Pageant. We sat down with Barbara Shaw, Director of the Miss EOC Pageant, and discussed what was on the docket this spring for Miss EOC.
What’s going on with the Miss EOC Pageant in the month of May?
Our candidates are busy honing their talent skills, working on physical conditioning, fitting wardrobes, continuing their community service activities and [working on] interview skills. Additionally, a send-off party will be held May 25, when the young women will display their wardrobe and talents for the Miss EOC Pageant board members. This all amounts to a very busy schedule for full time students.
What types of candidates stand out in the Miss EOC Pageant?
A panel of five independent judges assess the skills, talents and demeanor of all those competing for the Miss EOC and Miss EOC Outstanding Teen titles. Three of these judges must be certified by and have training from the Miss Oklahoma Pageant system; the remaining judges are local dignitaries or personalities. The judges give a numerical score to each competitor in each area of the competition (physical fitness, evening wear, talent and interview). The winners are those with the highest aggregate score at the end of competition. In short, the judges seek the “brightest and best” of the competitors.
Talk about the preparation that goes into the Miss Oklahoma Pageant.
The titleholders spend their year of service not only participating in Miss EOC appearances, but in hundreds of hours performing their selected areas of community service, developing their talent—dance, ballet, instrumental, vocal music, etc.—this is done with assistance from the EOC board, teachers, professors and professional trainers. Our current titleholders are: Miss EOC, Allie Renner, Miss EOC Outstanding Teen, Olivia Kuester. Allie and Olivia will relinquish their titles when new titleholders are selected in August, following the Miss Oklahoma Competition held in June in Tulsa.