By Heather Lusk
Celebrating 10 years in Zionsville, the Miss Indiana pageant will be the biggest in its 75 year history with 35 ladies vying for the chance to represent Indiana in the Miss America pageant and 29 others competing for the crown of Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen.
Katie Stam, former Miss Indiana and the 2009 Miss America, spoke to these young women at a reception on June 14 to kick off pageant week.
“It’s so exciting to be on this side and know exactly what you’re going to go through,” said Stam. “I’m looking forward to watching everyone blossom this week.”
She gave them advice on the responsibility that comes with holding the title. “It’s such an important job; the hardest one I’ve ever had,” said Stam, who recently gave birth to her second child. She told the women that in motherhood it’s easy to call a grandmother to help, but with Miss Indiana “you’re the only one; the one expected to be there in the crown and sash.”
“Your job is to make a connection with others,” Stam said. “To relate with them.”
She encouraged them to be proud that they have the opportunity to be part of the week’s events. “It’s not just your legacy, it’s the legacy of an organization that’s 100 years young,” she said.
Current Miss Indiana Audra Casterline told the ladies that she has been asked recently how she feels about giving up her crown.
“It’s not my crown,” she said. “It’s a crown that lives on. There’s always a Miss Indiana.”
“I promise that you will all be changed by the end of the week,” said Casterline.
The week will be full of interviews and competitions in swimwear, activewear, talent and evening gown. The top eleven will be announced at the beginning of the final competition on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. at the Zionsville Performing Arts Center.
Master of ceremonies Brad Brown, weekend anchor at WRTV6, provided one last piece of wisdom. “Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Brown.
By the numbers
64 – titles competing overall
17 – newcomers to Miss Indiana (not having previously competed for the title)
16 – former title holders assisting with hosting
10 – years in Zionsville
7 – Miss Indiana competitors from Ball State (the most of any school)
3 – days of preliminary competition before the finals
2 – from Zionsville vying for Miss Indiana Outstanding Teen
1 – Miss Indiana who was crowned Miss America (Katie Stam)