Ouachita to host pageant on October 23

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The current Miss OBU Brooke Schmidt will pass on her crown to the winner of this year’s pageant on Friday, Oct. 23. Photo courtesy of the News Bureau.

Seven women will compete for the title of Miss Ouachita Baptist University on Friday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in Jones Performing Arts Center on Ouachita’s campus. Tickets for the pageant are $12 each.

Contestants will participate in on-stage question, lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit, artistic expression in talent, presence and poise in eveningwear competitions and a private interview.

The pageant will be hosted by Ouachita’s Student Senate and directed by Ouachita alumnus Justin Harper. The winner of Miss OBU will represent Ouachita at the Miss Arkansas Pageant in July 2016 and receive a $1,000 scholarship and other prizes.

“I have been extremely blessed by the opportunity throughout the last eight months,” said outgoing Miss OBU Brooke Schmidt, a junior business administration major from Rowlett, Texas. “God has taught me so much about myself and allowed me to share the love of Christ with so many incredible people. I will miss this title so much, but, crown or no crown, I will continue to promote my platform and share Christ’s love across my campus and my community.”

Previously held in early February, the pageant was moved up to the fall semester to allow the next winner additional preparation time for the Miss Arkansas Pageant.

“Every girl has different goals in mind after they win Miss OBU,” explained Ashlee Giles, a member of the Miss OBU Executive Board who is helping coordinate the pageant on campus this year. “Giving Justin more time to work with the winner and help her achieve those goals is going to be extremely beneficial.”

“I am excited because this is kind of a new year for us,” Harper said. “This new opportunity to move the pageant to the fall is a great one because campus spirit is really high right now coming off of Homecoming and a great football season. We are excited to add just another element of fun into the fall semester.

“We are also excited about the campus support,” Harper added. “The students are always so great to come out and support and cheer for their contestants in the pageant and we want that again this year. We want them to be there to support and we want a full house.”

Harper has served as executive director of the Miss Ouachita Baptist University Pageant since 2008 and was honored as this year’s “Miss Arkansas Executive Director of the Year” by the Miss Arkansas board.

“I was kind of blown away,” he said regarding the award. “It’s just a complete honor to be recognized amongst a group of very talented directors across the state. It is a testament to Miss OBU and Ouachita and just the talent that we produce here. I was very grateful to receive that.”

Contestants include Suzie Gresham, a senior from Hope, Ark; Stoni Butler, a senior from Camden, Ark.;  Mariah Gough, a junior from Smackover, Ark.; Bethany Arredondo, a senior from Prosper, Texas; Kathryn Barfield, a senior from New Boston, Texas; and Lauren Ford, a sophomore from Cabot, Ark.

Tickets for the pageant are $12 each for the general public and $7 each for current Ouachita students with a valid student ID and will be available for purchase at the door of the event. For more information, contact Ashlee Giles at gilesa@obu.edu.

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