Vender Wright was crowned Saturday night as the new Ms. Hopkins County Senior Classic at the end of the end of the pageant which showcases the beauty, vitality, spirit, and talent of women age 60 and older.
Wright had the audience clapping and singing along during the talent contest as she encouraged everyone to “Stand.” When asked during the interview portion of the contest what she’d do if given a magic wand, Wright said she’d build a shelter to help the disabled.
When she realized she was this year’s winner, Wright’s surprise rendered her all nut speechless, able only to utter, “Oh my” at her excitement at receiving the honor.
Wright, 61, went home from the pageant with a tiara, certificate, trophy, a sash provided by Donna Nelson of Embroidery Designs, and flowers provided by Lydia Bryant of Sulphur Springs Flora Etc.
As Ms. Hopkins County Senior Classic 2019, Wright also qualified to compete to represent Hopkins County at the Ms. Texas Senior pageant this fall in Tyler.
She receives $254, half of the funds raises in the 50/50 raffle conducted during the pageant, to help pay her entry fee and expenses to compete at the state contest. The remaining $254 was divided between raffle winners Barbara Ballard and Gene Crist.
Nancy Bolton, 71, was the first runner-up and was recognized for selling the most tickets. She received a trophy and certificate. As a former Ms. Texas Senior, Bolton in addition to competing also joined Ms. Hopkins County Senior 2017 Patsy Crist and Ms. Hopkins County Senior Mary Ivey as the Senior Entertainers group in the opening number — showing how rocking these senior entertainers are as they sang and danced.
Bolton for the talent contest donned a male’s attire and beard for a humorous account of the man’s trip to town one day, which included purchasing an undergarment for his wife. When asked what super power she’d choose if given the option, she said she’d be able to twitch her nose and do magic, like on “Bewitched.”
Second runner-up was Jan Gray. She received a trophy and certificate. Gray, 66, performed a lively, comical skit as a purple-haired witch, encouraging others in the land to be good witches, to do good deeds to overcome the bad reputation others had given them with their bad behaviors. When asked the possession she values most during the interview portion of the contest, she said the photos of her two girls when they were younger.
The title of Miss Congeniality went to Pam George, who sang “Amazing Grace” during the talent contest. Her interview question was who she’d like to meet if she could meet anyone. George, 65, said she’d like to meet Florence Nightingale to witness her many acts and let her know the impact of her deeds.
A special award was presented for the first time this year to an individual cited for exhibiting many of the characteristics of Ms. Hopkins County 2014 Clydene Fielden, including honesty, integrity, leadership and humility. The Clydene Fielden Memorial Leadership Award was given to 2012 Ms. Hopkins County Senior Classic Ina Gore.
Contestant Majel Redick, 73, went home with not one but two certificates and a sash, one for Best Personality an another or Best Philosophy of Life. She recounted with humor about being married for the talent contest and during the interview contest said her guilty pleasure is reading. A published author, Redick says she can’t see well to read as she’d like and often loses herself in audio books.
Linda Pickle-Hill, 63, received a sash and certificate for having the Best Evening Gown. She was accompanied throughout the competition by her service dog Atticus Finch, who during the last few years when she’d competed has often been adopted as an unofficial mascot for the pageant. During the talent contest, she presented a reading on why “God Made Farmers.” For her interview questions, she cited a great-great grandmother she got to meet and learn from as a person who had a significant influence in her life.
The sash and certificate for Most Talented contestant this year went to Valorie Ross, 64. She donned less elegant gear and performed a comedy skit as the comic “Maxine.” When asked what she’d do if she won $1 million, Ross said she’d use some of it to help her kids, then get a new car which she’d drive to the new Senior Citizens Center, for which she’d provide funding to help see it built.
Marjean Allen, 65, received a sash and certificate for giving the Best Interview. When asked what advice she’d give her younger self, she said to “go for it” and not be afraid to try new things. For talent she showed the very first ceramic she ever made, a frog. This was Allen’s first time to compete in the event.
Judges were Crissy Kuiper with Home Care Network, Chick-Fil-A Director of Marketing Yorri Massey, Kaci Berryhill with ulphur Springs Health and Rehab and Misty Lauren Friddle with Caring Hearts Hospice. Retired math teacher Bea Rasmussen served as auditor for the pageant.
Performing a comedy skit while the judges cast their votes and the auditor tallied the scores was Ms. Hopkins County Senior Classic 2018 Mary Ivey. Ms. Hopkins County Senior Classic 2017 Patsy Crist performed a comedy skit based on a TV segment by her favorite actress, Lucy attempting to do a commercial. Ms. Hopkins County 2016 Lavonne Elam sang a Patsy Cline favorite, pulling items from her wardrobe to illustrate the items the person in the song was left with when another woman took her man. Ms. Hopkins County Senior 2010 Stella Bagley, the very first woman to earn the crown, too performed, warning the audience as before she started that she was taking them to church. She had people on their feet, clapping and singing along to her spirited song.
KSST’s Enola Gay Mathews and Chuck Roy from Community Chronicle assisted Pageant Director Karon Weatherman by serving as MCs. Gay also joined Mike Shing, who worked sound for the event, in singing at the pageant as well.
Of course, the pageant wouldn’t have been possible without sponsors Bill Holden and Tommy Anderson with BT Medical. Melba Nash of Melba’s Kreations provided use of the arch that served as the backdrop and plant stands on which ferns and fern provided by Michael Bowen and Como-Pickton CISD. Refreshments were provided afterward courtesy of Charlotte Baxter and Carriage House Manor and Cottages. Weatherman also offered thanks to KSST also videos the pageant for future broadcast.