By Rose Mary Buffalo
Amber Bennett was last but definitely not least Saturday night as she competed in and came out on top in the Miss Arkansas pageant.
Bennett, 22, of Carlisle was named Miss Arkansas 2006 after four days of competition at the annual pageant at Hot Springs Saturday night.
This came after her name was the 10th one called when the top 10 were announced.
She was the fifth one called when the five finalists were named.
And hers was the last name called as the winners were announced.
Bennett, who held the title of Miss Central Arkansas, came out the winner over 42 other contestants to be crowned by Eudora Mosby, Miss Arkansas 2005.
Bennett also won the Coleman Dairy Award for best overall talent, earning her an additional $1,500 scholarship. For her talent she sang a medley of “Somewhere” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Bennett is also a former Miss Teen Arkansas America, making her the first woman to receive both awards.
Her critical issue is the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Bennett will receive a $12,000 scholarship that she will use to continue her post-graduate dental education. She received her degree in pre-dentistry and mass communications from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville this year.
She is the daughter of Billy and LaQuita Bennett of Carlisle and has two brothers, Mason and Chad.
The other finalists were Stephanie DeClerk, first runner-up; Adrielle Churchill, second runner-up; Allison Waldrip, third runner-up; and Kristin Faye Freeman, fourth runner-up.
More than 200 supporters were on hand Saturday night during the pageant. Many of them had attended all four nights to show their support for Bennett.
Bennett succeeds Mosby, who was also Miss Central Arkansas and was from neighboring Hazen.
Jason Harper from KATV Channel 7 emceed the event and also performed with a cast of singers and dancers to this year’s pageant theme, “Music of Motown.”
Several former Miss Arkansas title holders attended the pageant and were recognized, including Donna Axum Whitworth, Miss Arkansas 1963 and Miss America 1964.
Bennett’s friends and family are planning a reception in her honor. The date and time will be announced when plans are finalized.
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