The crowd sat in silence.
The moment had arrived.
A dozen young ladies stood, holding hands, waiting for the announcement that would change one of their lives.
Each had prepared their minds, their fitness, their elegant evening gowns, and their talents for this one moment.
Each had entered the most prestigious preliminary pageant in the Miss Alabama system. The Miss Leeds Area pageant had produced four of the past seven Miss Alabama winners leading up to the 2018 pageant. Clearly, the girl whose name would be announced in the next few seconds would become one of the favorites for next year’s Miss Alabama winner.
Courtney Porter, the Miss Alabama of 2011 and also the Miss Leads Area of that year, was set the announce the name of the new Miss Leeds Area.
“The winner of a $2,000 scholarship and your new Miss Leeds Area 2019 is Braidyn Lazenby!”
For Lazenby, participating in the Miss Alabama pageant system has brought great success and scholarships to fund her college education. “This brings the total to over ten thousand dollars,” she explained via social media.
After performing a jazz dance routine to the Frank Sinatra classic “Fly me to the Moon,” Lazenby was considered, by many in the audience, as a leading candidate to take the Miss Leeds Area crown.
Moments before Lazenby’s name was announced as the new Miss Leeds Area, the title of Miss Leeds Area Outstanding Teen was awarded to Mary Coker “Coco” Green, who had entertained the audience with a powerful violin performance of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels.
No matter the year and the winners, the Miss Leeds Area pageant continued two traditions that have become a pattern over the years. First, the pageant and its success at the Miss Alabama level routinely attract the best young ladies that the State of Alabama has to offer. Also, the well-run pageant only adds to the reputation of Leeds as a community that does things the right way. Whether it was the personable Sherry Sublett at the front desk, the team of the Miss Leeds Area Committee orchestrating the stage changes perfectly, or the control room and sound booth manned by Kerri Ledford and Angela Walker, the event was organized perfectly by Sandra McGuire and the pageant board.
“We should not be successful without every one of our committee members,” McGuire explained.
Coker, the new Miss Leeds Area Outstanding Teen, was strongly supported by her family, with all four of her grandparents joining her parents and brother at the event. Her brother, Daniel Green, described himself as his sister’s “number-one professional fan.” Her maternal grandfather, Charles Turner, joked that his Coco had won pageants in the past when he couldn’t be present, so he really hoped she would win so he wouldn’t be a bad-luck charm for his granddaughter.
If the name Coker sounds familiar, she is also related to Jacob Coker, the quarterback who led the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team to the 2015 national championship.
Although two victorious names were announced, there were plenty of winners at the pageant. Several girls won scholarship funds, and the Leeds community once again proved itself as a city that produces winning events.
The crowd sat in silence.