McElhenney crowned Miss Bexar County
Amy McElhenney of Rice was crowned Miss Bexar County during the Miss Bexar
County/Miss San Antonio pageant Jan. 19 at Lackland Air Force Base in San
Antonio. The title gives McElhenney the opportunity to compete in the Miss
Texas Scholarship Pageant July 3-6 in Fort Worth. During the pageant, she
also won the interview and swimsuit competitions.
McElhenney is the daughter of Debbie McElhenney and the late Harold
McElhenney. She attended Rice schools and graduated in 1999 from Blooming
Grove High School. She is currently a senior at the University of Texas at
Austin majoring in Spanish and religious studies.
beauty McElhenney eyes Miss Texas crown
By BARBARA FORMAN/Daily Sun Staff
One more win and Amy McElhenney, a 1999
Blooming Grove graduate and former resident of Rice, could be on her
way to compete for the Miss America title.
She was crowned Miss Bexar County in San
Antonio this year. The win helped to qualify her for the Miss Texas
Scholarship Pageant that will be held July 3 through 6 in Fort
Worth. If she wins that competition she will be eligible to
participate in the national Miss America contest.
McElhenney said even though winning Miss
America is considered a huge accomplishment, being crowned Miss
Texas is not a simple task.
"To win Miss Texas is more difficult
than Miss America," she said.
One of the contributing factors of
complexity in the Texas competition are the numerous entries in the
pageant. There are many young women who are competing for the same
thing. Obtaining noticeable recognition and status during the
judging is not easy, she said.
After McElhenney started at the University
of Texas at Austin the idea of entering a pageant developed. She is
a senior and her degree will be in Spanish and education, with a
minor in religious studies.
After returning to Rice to visit with
family and friends the pageant plans began to develop.
"I had come home for Christmas and
Regina Cassady and her husband Rick, who was my third grade teacher,
asked me if I had ever thought about doing pageants,"
Her first response was a quick,
She said because of everything that had
been portrayed about girls who were in pageants she did not consider
herself to be the right type. Upon learning more about the process,
encouragement from the Cassady's and others, McElhenney began to
look at the benefits that might come from winning a pageant.
After all of the requirements were met she
was ready for her first state-level entry.
The judging for the first pageant was
broken down into five categories. The interview question was worth
40 percent, talent 30 and bathing suit and evening gown competition
10 percent each. Another 10 percent came from the composite of all
When the scores were in McElhenney was Miss
"My interview helped me win," she
said. "I was the last contestant and no one explained how or
what I should say."
She was given 45 seconds to make an impact
on the judges.
"I had them laughing," she said.
"They told me 'You were the person we were looking for.' "
During preparation and prior to the event
she said some girls sat around in cocktail dresses, had their hair
in rollers and had plenty of makeup on hand. McElhenney opted to
wear sweats, carried the minimum in makeup and enjoyed talking to
her mom and roommate who went with her.
At the Miss Texas pageant, the top 10
candidates will be determined on the last day of the pageant. Once
the judging is in the final stages, the remainder of the Miss Texas
pageant will be televised at 8 p.m. on Channel 21 in Corsicana.
McElhenney said if she wins she will be
ready to enter the Miss America pageant. One of the major
requirements is to be a spokesperson for something. She has worked
and been very active in cancer research programs for several years.
Miss America will make over 400 appearances in 365 days.
Winning Miss Texas is tougher than it
appears, she said, adding winning requires much more than looking
good in a bathing suit.
"It takes brains to win," she
Contestants are told they are applying for
a job as a spokesperson for Miss Texas. There are over 200 visits to
different schools, clubs and other groups.
One of the biggest surprises she has had as
a beauty pageant competitor is what a person must know and relate to
others. McElhenney hopes her academic scholarship and ability to
speak in public will be the advantage needed for an overall win.
On the net:
Barbara Forman may be contacted via e-mail
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