Miss Heritage missing candidates
Organizers for this year's Miss Heritage competition are a little nervous.
In the second year of the New Richmond royal court's return from oblivion, no candidates have filled out an application to participate in the September pageant.
With a May 19 sign-up deadline fast approaching, the volunteer Miss Heritage committee is struggling to find ways to promote the renewed community ambassador concept.
At a recent informational meeting after school, only two potential candidates attended.
"I know, for a lot of the girls, it's a last minute decision," said Dori Marty, committee member. "That just makes us nervous. If there are not enough girls signed up in the end, we won't have it (the Miss Heritage program)."
After all the hard work put into resurrecting the community's royal court the past two years, Marty said a sudden end to the program would be disappointing.
"It would be very sad," Marty said. "And if we didn't have it this year, I don't think it would ever come back again."
Committee members wondered out loud why a community the size of New Richmond can't muster the eight or 12 candidates necessary for a vital royal court competition.
Marty admits that many girls are busy with sports, work and other activities, but Miss Heritage is a worthy use of a candidate's time too.
There is no cost to candidates who sign up, and even the fancy gowns needed can be rented or borrowed.
Committee member Cheryl Emerson said young women on the royal court receive a boatload of prizes, including clothing and jewelry.
"And it's a great resume builder," she said, "with the community service and leadership qualities involved."
The year's chosen Miss Heritage also receives a hefty scholarship, the Diane Hannula Memorial scholarship, which is already up to $900 compared to $500 last year.
"We don't know why the girls run and we don't know why they don't run," said Sandy Kloetzke, a committee member. "But we just need candidates."
Even without a list of candidates, the community and area businesses are behind the royalty program 100 percent, Emerson said.
Five sponsors have already committed to this year's Miss Heritage program, and more are interested if enough candidates sign up.
The current year's court, including Miss Heritage Huong Nguyen, first princess Courtney Nyberg and Miss Congeniality Chelsey Kobs, are gearing up for the summer parade season.
The group's first parade is in Woodville May 20. They can be found waving to the crowd at 10 parades around the region this summer, including stops in Hudson, Amery and Star Prairie.
"It's only about a third of the normal parade schedule," Emerson said. "But these girls are so busy, we didn't want to overload them. It's a big commitment."
The royal court will be riding atop the New Richmond parade float this summer, rather than in convertibles. The float, which has been in storage for four years, needs a few repairs before it sees its first action, Emerson said.
"We were originally not going to use the float, but the girls pleaded with us," she said.
"It's in pretty good shape," Marty said. "It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be."
If you have any questions, would like to volunteer, or be a candidate or sponsor, call Dori Marty at 246-6561 ext 4207, Cheryl Emerson at 243-7423, Sandy Kloetzke at 243-2295, Tami Larson at 243-6118 or Andrea Kier at 246-6976.