Millard County crowns new royalty

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Eleven contestants vied for the crowns of Miss Millard and Miss Millard Outstanding Teen 2018 at the Miss Millard pageant on Aug. 4.

By the conclusion of the night, Tyra Sorenson was crowned Miss Millard with Allie Hillner as first attendant and Oakley Smith as second attendant. Lillee Anderson was crowned Miss Millard Outstanding Teen with Sierra Riding as first attendant and Ember Moat as second attendant. Moat received the Spirit of Miss Millard award in conjunction with attendant; Riding received the award for best talent. Jasmyne Rodriguez and Paityn Taylor were crowned as Jr. Miss Millard and Little Miss Millard the night before.

Mariah Rasmussen, 2016’s Miss Millard, served as Mistress of Ceremonies, alongside 2017’s Miss Millard Kenlie Lemon and Outstanding Teen Macie Sorenson. The pageant began after Rasmussen introduced each candidate. The talent portion began, followed by the eveningwear and onstage questionnaire. Each contestant was asked about their platform and a randomly- drawn question.

Miranda Riding, the daughter of Randy and Lesa Riding and contestant for Miss Millard, performed a contemporary dance solo. Her platform, “I Am…” promoted positive body image and sought to eliminate body-shaming amongst young women and their peers.

“If I saw someone being body shamed I would speak up for them,” Riding said when asked about what she would do if witnessing an individual being harassed for their appearance. “When I was going through body-shaming, the worst part was watching people be silent. If I could be that voice and speak up for those going through body-shaming, I believe I could help.”

As part of her random question, Riding credited Rosa Parks for being one of the most impactful women for women’s rights and lives. “Not only does she stand for African-American lives, but for women’s rights as well,” she said.

Oakley Smith, the daughter of Greg and Randi Smith, performed a jazz dance solo. Her platform, “Be Kind,” promoted random acts of kindness amongst communities. Smith said she believes kindness in the current generation of youth has dissolved due to self-absorption. “They aren’t okay with being the underdog for a little bit. I believe if we took a step out of our own lives and took a look around, our eyes would be opened to the opportunities to serve. Kindness isn’t a weakness— it’s one of the greatest things we could hold,” Smith said.

Smith said one of the biggest changes she’d like to see in future generations of young women is more confidence, self-acceptance and positivity.

“This generation is so focused on the negative, and I wish we could see past that; we’re only human and we can only be as good as we let ourselves be.”

Haley Pratt, the daughter of Steve and Carol Pratt, performed a violin solo of “Millionaire’s Hoedown.” Pratt’s platform, Choose to SHINE, focused on self-betterment and the promotion of happiness. SHINE is an acronym of Pratt’s own design and stands for Stay true; Happiness; Improve Yourself; No limits and Execute. Pratt said technology has made intergenerational communication difficult due to younger individuals being more focused on gadgets than service.

“In my opinion, my generation is so absorbed in their phones and themselves, while the older is out serving and helping, and I think that is something we can change,” she said.

Allie Hillner, the daughter of Russ and Deb Hillner, performed a flute solo of “Hallelujah.” Her platform, “Project S.E.R.V.E,” promoted service throughout communities. Hillner said she felt service is important in order to assist those often overlooked.

“Service is something that isn’t always a priority but it should be. It is so important because not only does it help others, but it helps you as well. It brings happiness and joy.”

Hillner said she would like to see Eleanor Roosevelt as the first woman on American currency in 2020. “She has done so much for our country, and she was a face for women when there really wasn’t one,” she said.

Tyra Sorenson, daughter of Cole and Kimberley Sorenson, performed a vocal solo of “Mayday” by country artist Cam. Sorenson’s platform “Accept Yourself; Confidence is Power,” aimed to give young women self-confidence. Sorenson said self-acceptance and confidence go hand-in- hand and have helped her during low points.

“When you accept yourself and truly love yourself for who you are, you’re going to gain that confidence,” Sorenson said. Sorenson credits the Miss America program for helping her and other women find self-empowerment and confidence.

Sorenson said she agrees racial tensions in America are on the rise. “I believe this could be caused by the media—everyone is going out and seeing things and forming their own opinions and getting involved, and causing this tension,” she said.
Sierra Riding, the daughter of Randy and Lesa Riding, performed a dance solo. Her platform “Speak Up and Reach Out,” aimed to help youth support one another and promote kindness within. Riding said support is a solution within the community to help those struggling with a burden. Riding said kindness would be her one message to the world.

“If you see anyone ever needing a helping hand, go up to them and talk. Be a friend to everyone.”

Keri Carter, daughter of Darren and Patti Carter, performed a monologue on the importance of mental illness awareness. Her platform “Invisible Wounds: Raising Awareness for Mental Health,” focused on drawing in affordable resources for mental health in rural areas. “It is okay to not be okay,” Carter said about mental illness. “You do not have to be perfect all the time.”

Carter said she would choose intelligence over beauty. “Brains can get you everywhere, and there should not be a beauty standard anywhere on Earth.”

Janis Pratt, daughter of Steve and Carol Pratt, performed a piano solo of “Allegro Burlesco.” Her platform “Breaking Barriers,” encouraged stepping out of one’s comfort zones. “In middle school I didn’t have many friends because I kept telling myself I wasn’t worth it. My freshman year of high school I broke that barrier and went out and spoke to people and made new friends I love spending time with.”

Pratt said she handles stress by taking it “one step at a time. Just go one step after another until you’re no longer stressed.”

Izzie Hillner, the daughter of Russ and Deb Hillner, performed a viola solo of “Colors of the Wind.” Her platform, “Step Up, Step Out,” also encouraged leaving one’s comfort zone in encouragement of new experiences. Hillner said stepping out of a comfort zone is important for youth.

“I think it’s important for them to try new things, be a better person and live a happier life,” Hillner said.

Hillner said world travel tops her bucket list. “I love to see different places; I really want to visit Paris or somewhere that has a very good culture.”

Lillee Anderson, the daughter of Dallin and Kristen Anderson, performed a jazz dance solo. Her platform, “Just Be Kind,” promotes anti-bullying techniques, and replace cruelty with kindness. Anderson said she would interfere if she witnessed someone being bullied.

“I think the reason people bully is because they want attention,” Anderson said. “So by not giving them an audience of fueling their fire, it can stop. I would tell the bully to stop and help victims to brush it off their shoulders and walk away.”

Anderson defined courage as “having confidence in others and yourself. If you have confidence in yourself, you can have courage and set your mind to anything you want to.”

Ember Moat, daughter of Cody and Leona Moat, performed a vocal solo of “Be My Baby” by The Ronnettes. Moat’s platform “Suicide Awareness” sought to inform communities of warning signs of suicide and how to help those experiencing suicidal thoughts. Moat said the best way to help someone feeling suicidal is listening.

“I think everyone has their own individual reasons for contemplating suicide. If I encountered someone that was thinking about committing suicide, I would listen to them and teach them coping resilience skills before the actually think suicide is the answer,” she said.

Moat said she would choose intelligence over beauty and wealth. “If you have brains you can become wealthy, and just being kind is beautiful.”

During a farewell speech, Lemon and Macie Sorenson thanked families, friends, and their communities for their support.

“Thank you Millard County for this opportunity,” Sorenson said. “I am so grateful to serve such an amazing community. I’m so grateful for this experience. It’s been the best year.”

“Going into Miss Millard, I didn’t know what to expect,” Lemon said. “I am closing one of the most beautiful and fulfilling chapters of my life. As I reflect back on this year, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with love and gratitude.”

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