Students Represent BIC at District Fair Pageant


Brody McFall, Writer

After a long day of preparation and competition, BIC’s participants in the Northeast Arkansas District Fair Pageant ended the night of September 16th with success. Morgan James, a junior, and Cadyn Qualls, a senior, earned awards as they represented both the school and community. James, sixteen, competed in the Jr. Miss division among eleven fellow contestants and earned the title of first alternate, as well as best dressed. Qualls, seventeen, competed against nine fellow contestants in the Miss division, becoming the new Miss Northeast Arkansas District Fair Queen.


The girls’ participation in pageants started at a young age, often competing together. Growing up as friends, they remember watching both live and televised pageants together, asking each other for advice in dress purchases, and always encouraging each other to do their best.

“Morgan and I have shared a love for pageants since we were in elementary. We’ve bonded over this passion, and it has brought us closer as friends. I was a little sad this year as we watched Miss America together at our annual watch party because I realized it may be the last. I’ll be at college next year during this time,” said Qualls.


While both have taken part in pageants for a large majority of their lives, this specific one was a fairly new experience for them both. This was the first pageant in which James and Qualls partook in an interview portion. In the Jr. division, James also competed in “sports wear,” another unfamiliar portion to the high school junior. While James put on a brave face for this nerve wracking experience, Qualls prepared for her first swimsuit portion, feeling equally as nervous.


“I really enjoyed the pageant because it was a very new experience for me.  I’ve never done a pageant with interview, an onstage question, or sportswear so it was definitely a different pageant than I’m used to,” said James.


Though they were new to this type of competition, they were pleasantly surprised to have completed their portions successfully, having fun in the process. Qualls won the overall Miss interview award, which served as 50% of the overall score.


“It was so much fun. I made so many new friends, and spent most of my time behind stage laughing and dancing,” said Qualls.


The NEA Fair Pageant requires a five minute interview prior to the main competition in front of a panel of judges at the Brookland Auditorium. The participants were unsure of what would be asked, but their attention on this uncertainty was quickly sidetracked when they entered the room and saw the guest judge – Bachelor contestant, Raven Gates.


“I was definitely not expecting that, but was so excited to see her. She was really nice, and is even prettier in person,” said James.


After their interviews in the early afternoon, all contestants stayed to rehearse for the evening’s events. At six, they entered the stage to introduce themselves. The contestants were then given an onstage question to test their knowledge about community affairs and their problem solving skills.


Following this, James and Qualls confidently competed in the sportswear/swimsuit and evening gown portions. Both girls opted for a blue gown, representing their school colors.


“It was such an honor to compete in this system, not only representing North East Arkansas, but also BIC. I enjoyed being able to present my passions and thoughts on certain issues, and hear the same of the other contestants. It’s so empowering for young women to have that opportunity. Pageants are a great way for girls to learn to be confident in the way they are made and to express their ideas and ambitions,” said Qualls.


In October, Cadyn Qualls will go on to represent BIC by competing in the State Fair Pageant in Little Rock.  It will consist of competitors from all over the state.