When Ansley Reagan finished second to Chattanooga’s Blaire Pancake at the Miss Tennessee Pageant, the reigning Miss Cleveland got a sweetheart of a deal.
The 22-year-old senior at Lee University is once again representing the Volunteer State at the National Sweetheart Pageant in Hoopeston, Illinois this Labor Day weekend.
Miss Reagan is among the 34 runners-ups from this year’s Miss America state pageants competing for the title which is held in conjunction with Hoopeston’s National Sweet Corn Festival. Hoopeston is located near the Indiana border and a two hour drive from Chicago.
What is also unusual is that Miss Reagan has been afforded the rare opportunity of being a two time state representative at a national pageant. Last year, the daughter of Robert and Teresa Reagan was the third runner-up at Miss Tennessee in her first attempt at the title.
Instead of getting ready to return to Lee for her senior year, Ms. Reagan suddenly found herself preparing for an unexpected trip to Hoopeston after the first and second runners-up declined the invitation.
Miss Reagan didn’t finish in the top 10, but was so overwhelmed by the hospitality and enthusiasm of the Hoopeston residents; she said she knew that she had to take advantage of a return visit.
“Hoopeston is the most charming town I have ever had the privilege to visit.” Miss Reagan said. “The best thing about Hoopeston is the people who live there. They are so welcoming, friendly and engaging. They support the contestants wholeheartedly and look forward all year to the pageant much like Jackson does for the Miss Tennessee Pageant. I had the time of my life there last year and I can’t wait to go back.”
Miss Reagan, who was recently named “Volunteer of the Year” by the Volunteer Guardianship Program for her work with area seniors and was honored with the state Miss America Community Service Award during June’s pageant, said the evolution of her platform Project CARE (Community Alliance for Reaching the Elderly) has been beneficial both personally and competitively.
“I feel that I am a stronger, better-rounded contestant this year”. Miss Reagan, who was a volunteer at this summer’s Tennessee Senior Olympics in Nashville stated. “I have worked so hard developing my platform, Project CARE.”
“I have earned my spot to be there this year and I am anxious for the competition to begin.”
Preliminaries will take place tonight and Saturday with the finals slated for Sunday evening.
Eight of last year’s Sweetheart contestants will be among the 52 women going to Las Vegas in January to vie for the 2007 Miss America tiara.
What was Miss Reagan’s biggest mistake last year in Hoopeston?
“I didn’t buy enough souvenirs.” she said. “I plan on stocking up this trip.”