Sunday, June 04, 2006
DeVore has Miss Indiana in her sights
By CHRIS MORRIS
So you know
• What: Miss Indiana 2006
• When: June 21-22 and 24
• Where: Zionsville High School Performing Arts Center
• Tickets and information: www.missindianapageant.com
Valerie DeVore can never be blamed for resting on her laurels.
After winning the Miss Harvest Homecoming Pageant in October, DeVore has worked to prepare for the upcoming Miss Indiana Scholarship Pageant. From going through mock interview sessions to practicing her gymnastics routine, DeVore hasn’t stopped working.
In two weeks, she will find out if all that work will result in her winning the title Miss Indiana.
“All you can do is prepare and hope that is enough,” said the 19-year-old IU Southeast student. “You just have to concentrate on what you have to do.”
DeVore — a New Albany resident — will be the only area contestant to compete for the Miss Indiana crown, which will be held at Zionsville High School June 21-22 and 24. She will be one of 27 contestants who hope to win the title and qualify for the Miss America Pageant. The finals are slated for 7 p.m. June 24.
“It would be awesome if I won,” she said. “I can’t imagine it right now.”
Trina Jackson said it’s time for DeVore to start thinking about it. Jackson — a former Miss New Mexico who competed in the 1984 Miss America Pageant — has been tutoring DeVore for several weeks. The two work at the Southern Indiana Gymnastics School.
Jackson, who lives in Charlestown, said DeVore has worked hard and is prepared for the Miss Indiana Pageant.
“She is doing very well,” Jackson said. “Through gymnastics she is already a good competitor and she is extremely smart. She is consistent in everything and that is what it takes to get you to the top.”
DeVore began her competitive gymnastics career at SIGS when she was 2 years old. She was also a cheerleader for four years at New Albany High School.
Jackson choreographed DeVore’s gymnastics routine — which lasts less than two minutes — to the song “On Broadway.” It’s a routine DeVore says is “really intense.”
Besides preparing her physically, Jackson has also prepared mock interviews for DeVore each week with a different set of judges. Besides the obviously beauty queen criteria, Jackson said Miss America sanctioned events focus more on a contestant’s intelligence and ability to respond well to questions.
“There is a big emphasis on education,” Jackson said. “She is doing very well. She knows the answers on about everything you ask her.
“And if she doesn’t know the answer, she remains calm and that is very important.”
Jackson said DeVore has become part of her family.
“My daughter is 13 and Valerie is a good role model,” Jackson said. “We’re family, beyond the pageant.”
DeVore said Jackson has been a huge help.
“She has invested so much time in me,” she said.
DeVore had never competed in a pageant prior to last year’s Miss Harvest Homecoming event. She said her mother encouraged her to enter.
Thanks to that advice, she received a $2,000 scholarship from Harvest Homecoming and an automatic ticket to the Miss Indiana Pageant.
“I always wanted to do a pageant, but I was always so busy I never had time,” she said. “My mom thought the Harvest Homecoming Pageant would be perfect.”
She said she enjoyed being the 2005 Miss Harvest Homecoming. From fulfilling a childhood dream of riding in a hot air balloon to working with young girls through the CHOICES program, DeVore said the experience was a positive one.
“It was great,” she said.
• SIGS will host a sendoff for DeVore at 7:30 p.m. June 15. She will perform her gymnastics routine and model her wardrobe for the event.
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