SEBRING — Parents, grandparents, sponsors and fans cheered the 15 competitors in this year’s Teen Miss Highland’s County Pageant at Alan Jay Arena Saturday afternoon.
The show began with a dance number, led by Baxley Hines, last year’s Teen Miss Highlands County. All of the 13– to 16-year-old contestants followed Hines’ lead in the energetic opening dance that saw them keeping in nearly perfect step. The number was choreographed by Center Stage Dance Studio under the instruction of Patty Long and Caylie Pearlman.
The show began with a Color Guard from Avon Park High School Air Force Junior ROTC and the singing of the national anthem by the talented Laura Wade. Champion for Children Chief Executive Officer Carissa Marine served as mistress of ceremonies.
In the end, Hines walked down the runway in her farewell walk and passed the title on to the winner, Carlysle Kenyon.
The first runner-up was Brylee King, and second runner-up was Lynlee Baker.
Tracy Norby, mother of Chloe Norby, watched her daughter prepare for the competition with pride.
“I’m nervous, excited and very proud of Chloe,” Norby said. “She likes to dance, enjoys acrobatics, and cheerleading, so she’s prepared in many ways.”
Chloe, who loves animals and wants to be a veterinarian, has an independent streak.
“It was enjoyable watching her prepare, there were some stressful times where we didn’t agree on something,” she said with a smile. “This is for her, so we went along with it.”
Grandparents Robert and Kimberly O’Connor were in the audience to cheer on granddaughter Hope Potts.
“Watching her prepare for this, the way she handles things, is impressive,” Robert said. “She’s grown so much by being in it so many years, she learns more and more each year. She has intelligence, poise, and practiced hard. We’re very proud of her.”
The contestants included Raina Grantham, Dixie Cook, Baylee Sevigny, Carlysle Kenyon, Kaylee Owens, Brylee King, Hope Potts, Effie Brinling, Peyton Turner, Isabella Conklin, Scarlett Lackey, Amy Gottus, Lynlee Baker, Maria Swaford, and Chloe Norby.
The annual pageant is a big part of the Highlands County Fair, which runs through next week.