Fifty women from all over the state of Utah will compete for the title of Miss Utah this week. While the contestants checked the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake on Monday for the week of competitions, they spent their first night in Provo, Utah showing off their kicks in the annual Show Me Your Shoes Parade at the Shops at Riverwoods.
The Show Me Your Shoes Parade, which is patterned after the Miss America kick-off event, is a tradition where contestants dress up and decorate a pair of shoes that represent them. Their shoes reflect either their city/county or their platform. Instead of walking around in the sometimes height-defying and intricately decorated heels, contestants hop on a golf cart and ride through a parade of family and friends.
The current Miss Utah, Lauren Wilson, said she is enjoying this week since she is no longer a contestant, but rather a titleholder.
“It is so fun being on this side of it, being able to talk to the contestants because I have been in their shoes,” Wilson said. …”It’s definitely more relaxed this year because I am not competing, so I don’t have the stress or the pressure trying to impress the judges.”
Miss Utah is a part of the Miss America Organization. Each state, including District of Colombia and Puerto Rico, sends one representative each year to Miss America to compete. Last September, Wilson was able to compete at Miss America and participated in the Show Me Your Shoes parade that took place in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“It (Miss America’s Show Me Your Shoes) was so much fun. It was a little cold, very windy, but riding down the boardwalk in that convertible with people from all over the country cheering you on no matter who you were was an amazing experience,” Wilson said. “I have always loved Miss Utah Show Me Your Shoes, but Miss America Show Me Your Shoes is like this times 50.”
As each contestants’ name was called, they rode down the cobblestone roads of the Riverwoods to flaunt their shoes and their excitement to be beginning of Miss Utah week. Over the next few days the participants will compete in a variety of events before the 2017 Miss Utah is crowned on Saturday.
The costumes ranged from cowgirls to soccer players and princesses to superheroes. Lining the streets were not only family and friends, but Little Miss Utah contestants, Miss Utah Outstanding Teen contestants and local titleholders that will compete at Miss Utah next year. The Riverwoods felt glamorous from the shine of crowns everywhere.
Five awards were given to the contestants with the best costumes. Although contestants were recognized for the hard work and effort they put into their costumes, the awarding does not affect the scoring of the preliminary or final competition.
Best Use of Platform – Miss North Ogden, Navy Humphreys
Most Creative – Miss Heart of Utah, Bailey Simons
“My platform is called “Change Lives, Save Lives: Organ Donation,” so I had blue and white high-heel shoes with glitter since those colors represent organ donation,” Simons said. “I also had pinwheels. Pinwheels represent new life and how you can recycle yourself, which is really near and dear to my heart.”
Best Use of Theme – Miss Roy, Jessica Berenyi
Going the Extra Mile – Miss Wasatch County, Miranda Bolick
“My county hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, we hold the world’s tournament for cross country skiing every year and we have the ice castles. It’s a winter wonderland truly,” Bolick said.
Best Overall – Miss Weber County, Shannon Stoddard
The Miss America Organization is the world’s leading provider of scholarship assistance for women. Wilson said she likes to stress the importance that the Miss Utah competition, as well as the other state pageants and Miss America, isn’t about winning the crown, but rather earning money for an education and serving the community.
Miss Utah Schedule
Tuesday: Fashion show and autographs – 7 p.m. at The Outlets at Traverse Mountain, FREE
Wednesday-Friday: Preliminaries – 7 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre
Saturday: Final Competition – 7 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre
“I really want people to understand that, yes, we walk on a stage in a swimsuit, yes, we walk on stage in heels, but this is about scholarship and service,” Wilson said. “It’s about helping the people around you and helping your community. It’s not about winning the crown and it’s not about being Miss Utah. It’s about the good you can do with that crown to help your community.”
Miss Utah week will continue on June 13, with a fashion show, and the preliminary competition will start on June 14 at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake.
Tickets for the preliminaries and final competition can be found at artsaltlake.org