Mar 23, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer, Staff WriterWearing a red and white Valentine's Day-themed party dress, 10-month-old Georgiana Miller grinned broadly for the judges as she walked across the stage with help of her mother, Holly.
Georgiana competed as the youngest girl in the 2012 Our Little Miss Wyoming preliminary pageant Saturday at the Riverton Branch Library.
"It's way past her naptime," said Georgiana's grandmother, Linda Heron, between outfit changes.
Heron and Miller said it was Georgiana's first pageant, and they thought it might be fun to try out.
"She's having a good time," said regional Our Little Miss director Vicki Benedict about the baby smiling from the stage. "Her personality is showing right through."
Georgiana won the "Baby Petite" title.
Casual and party
The girls stood and posed on the four X marks onstage. The 3- to 6-year-olds had two outfit changes: casual wear and party dress.
Five girls participated in the pageant, and all but one were from Riverton.
The oldest, Cheyenne Russell, 9, traveled to Riverton that morning from Rawlins.
Performing a cheer was her talent, which she said is her favorite part of the competition and something she practices at least once a week.
Cheyenne said is one of her goals for the future is to win all the Miss Wyoming pageants.
She earned the "Our Little Miss" crown.
"Our Little Miss celebrates the natural child," Benedict told the audience, which was made up of siblings, mothers, fathers and grandparents. "It is always encouraged for the kids to be kids."
The Our Little Miss Wyoming website reinforces what Benedict said.
"We want our kids to look like kids and not mini-adults," the website states. "Please do not put make-up on babies. Very light or no make-up is preferred on children. Teens need to have age appropriate make-up, if any. We want real kids. No fake hair, teeth, nails allowed."
While each girl wandered the stage, spinning for the panel of three judges, Benedict read biographical information to the crowd. She detailed each girl's hobbies, hopes and dreams.
There were no loud, coaching parents in the audience, and only a few made a point of getting close to the stage to take pictures.
After the four youngest were presented, they stood together, turning so the judges could see the details of their outfits. They each had to answer a question along the lines of "If you had $5, what would you do with it?"
Cali Whitebird, 4, had trouble following the cues to move from one place to the next and seemed too shy to smile.
Her father, Alex Whitebird, said he hoped she was having a good time. She was too shy to answer her question.
"A preliminary is definitely a learning experience for all involved," Benedict said between rounds, adding that those who would be moving on to future pageants would receive tips.
Riverton 5-year-old Addison Dow is a near-veteran in the local pageant circuit.
"She got Little Miss Fremont County last summer and runner-up Miss Wyoming," said Addison's mother, Jami Dow.
When asked what her favorite part of the competition was, Addison said, "stepping on Xs."
Dow said she and Addison work on following the markers not only in their home but also out on the driveway.
The 3- to 6-year-old division was won by Riverton's Matayah Hines, 4, crowned "Miss La Petite." Her mother, Monica Hines, said this was the girl's first pageant.
"I asked her if she wanted to do it, and she said 'yes,'" Hines said.
Addison earned second place, and Cali received third.
Benedict said anyone can participate in the state competition, which will be held in late April in Sheridan, but those who joined the preliminaries get discounted fees and added experience. She said four of the five contestants from the Riverton competition plan on participating in state.
"That's a very good turnout," Benedict said.
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