In 1991, when Katie Stam was just 5 years old, growing up in Seymour, Ind., you could spy the pint-size beauty cutting cereal boxes into princess crowns and fashioning sashes out of thick ribbons with her favorite cousin. You could also spy Stam, in mid-September of that year, watching her beloved Miss America pageant on NBC with 26.7 million other television viewers. “We would pretend we were Miss America,” she remembers fondly, noting that her family gathered around the television annually for the show. “We had the most amazing connection with the pageant. It was such a big deal to us.” And to the rest of the country. The Miss America pageant was a true television event, close to the Oscars and the Super Bowl.