ST. GEORGE – Dixie State University crowned a new homecoming queen Tuesday night, naming Sarah Thompson as the winner.
Thompson, from Brigham City, was selected by a group of judges based on her interview skills, response to an onstage question, swimsuit, evening wear, and talent portions of the competition. She will receive a scholarship to Dixie State, and compete in the Miss Utah pageant for the further chance to compete in the Miss America pageant.
“I did a pageant when I was 5, and that’s the only one I’ve ever done until now,” Thompson said. “I won the queen then and I just thought I was the bomb. I walked around with my crown everywhere. I wore it to school, and I just loved it. Ever since then, I’ve just thought the idea of pageants was fun.”
There were 10 contestants, and each girl selected a platform to work on. Thompson chose “coming together to support those affected by eating disorders” as her platform.
“I struggled with an eating disorder for a long time, and my older sister is currently in treatment for an eating disorder. I really want to help those affected by it, the family and friends. There are so many places for those who have eating disorders, but the family and friends don’t really have anything. It’s also hard for them.”
“I want to start a support group for family and friends of those with eating disorders. I’ve teamed up with LDS family services, who will help bring in speakers and things like that. I want people to have a place where they can ask questions like ‘what do I do when my daughter is throwing up in the bathroom?’”
One of the highlights of the night was having some of the former winners of the pageant return to the stage and tell of their experiences as Miss Dixie. In attendance was Betty Allen Snow, who won the contest in 1952.
“I remember the basketball games in the little gym that we had, and it wasn’t much bigger than a basketball court, ” Snow said. “But we all crowded in there. Afterwards, we always had a dance. We also always danced up on the red hill, on top of the water tank during the rodeo days. That was always fun.”
Shaelie Knutson, of Preston, Idaho, won the competition last year. “I can’t believe it’s already been a year,” Knutson said. “I am extremely honored to have been able to represent Dixie and I couldn’t have done it without support from all of my family and friends, and I wish the best for Sarah. I know she’ll do amazing.”
Knutson worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters, a youth mentoring organization that helps children avoid risky behavior and build a foundation for their futures.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters is amazing. I could not have worked with a better group of people,” Knutson said. “The St. George chapter is filled with amazing leaders and even more amazing children. Each one of them is so special.”
The judges for the competition also chose two runners up: Jaylin Humphries, of Hurricane, who won 2nd runner up, and Jessica Jensen, of Herriman, who won 1st runner up.
“The Miss Dixie pageant is one of Dixie’s oldest traditions, and every year we see so many talented and amazing young women compete for the crown,” the pageant’s executive director, Madison Brostrom, said. “I am excited to work with Sarah and watch her compete at Miss Utah in June 2015.”
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