Dancing the night away at the Miss SC Pageant

otaylor@thestate.comJuly 11, 2013 

  • If you go Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen pageant

    Where: Township Auditorium, 1703 Taylor St.

    Preliminaries: Thursday at the Township Auditorium; 7-10 p.m. Tickets available at the Township’s box office or through Ticketmaster, (800) 745-300 or tickmaster.com

    Miss South Carolina Gala: 7 p.m. Friday at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St.; open to the public; tickets, $50

    Finale: 7 p.m. Saturday at the Township Auditorium

A lithe and lyrical Lara Scott, Miss Capital City, put on dancing clinic, so it wasn’t surprising that she won Wednesday night’s talent preliminary at the Miss South Carolina pageant.

After two nights of underwhelming tapping and clogging at Township Auditorium, Scott, who is featured in Thursday’s Life&Style, performed with the graceful strength of a professional. (Miss Greenville County Lindley Mayer’s Michael Jackson-inspired moves and Miss Lake Keowee Leighann Bagwell’s clogging were also impressive.)

Miss Greater Greer Lanie Hudson won swimsuit. In the teen competition, Lyman Teen Hope Harvard won talent for a lyrical dance performance and Hannah Henshaw, Clarendon Teen, won evening wear/onstage question.

Speaking of onstage question, one of the evening’s memorable moments was when a question went unanswered.

SUCH AS...: ...one on bullying and self-esteem. But Miss Camden Lauren Jeffcoat reached for the microphone before the question was asked. When it was handed back, it was apparent Jeffcoat was off. There was a very pregnant pause. Then she sighed. Hard. Jeffcoat was frozen. “Yes, thank you,” she said before turning to walk off the stage. Unlike national pageants, she probably won’t get to go on a morning show and get another shot. Celine DionLater, Loris Bog-Off Festival Teen Allison Bratcher almost met a similar fate before recovering like a late-game pitcher for the save.

THE FACE: After days of rehearsals and performances, the opening number could become just another routine to sleepwalk through. Not for Emily Wayne, Miss Loris Bog-Off Festival. She gave what a fashionista would call face. It was like she was dancing in a packed club by herself.

HIT THE BOOKS: The pageant isn’t just about girls in swimsuits. After all, this is the Miss South Carolina Scholarship Organization. With $24 million in scholarships, South Carolina is “by far the largest state organization” in the Miss America system, Ashley Byrd, Miss SC’s president and executive director said.

This week the pageant will award $48,000 in cash scholarships to teen contestants and $122,000 to miss contestants, including $20,000 to the newly-crowned Miss SC.

The $24 million is tallied by adding scholarship money available to competitors. Not all of the money is used. For instance, Sherman College of Chiropractic offers $150,000 — basically a free ride to the Boiling Springs school — to the Miss SC winner. Several colleges and universities offer money through the pageant.

“They want those young ladies to come to their school,” Byrd said, adding that Rachel Wyatt, the Miss SC Teen who went on to be named Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, was offered a full scholarship to Auburn University. Wyatt, though, will attend Clemson University.

“It just speaks highly of the program and the opportunities these girls have,” Byrd continued.

Reigning Miss SC Ali Rogers agreed.

“Scholarship and service, that’s the two things that are most important to the Miss American Organization,” she said.

Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362.

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