Under the guidance of the Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Organizations, the Miss Kansas Organization (MKO) Board of Directors has decided to postpone the Miss Kansas competition from its original date the first part of June to Labor Day weekend due to COVID-19.
Stephanie Harris, Executive Director, said that while the exact dates for the 2021 Miss America Competition and 2021 MAOTeen Competition have not yet been released, the Miss Kansas Organization will be celebrating its 79th year in September.
Miss Kansas preliminary competitions will be held on Saturday, September 5 at 10 a.m. and at 2 p.m., followed by the traditional Miss Kansas Parade at 6 p.m. in downtown Pratt. The autograph session for Miss Kansas and MKSOTeen will immediately follow the Miss Kansas Parade at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.
The MKSOTeen Competition will be held Sunday, September 6 at 1 p.m. in Carpenter Auditorium at Pratt Community College with the Miss Kansas final competition to follow at 5 p.m. in the Dennis Lesh Arena.
"The Miss Kansas Organization is very lucky that Pratt Community College will continue to be the host of the 2020 Miss Kansas and MKSOTeen Competitions," Harris said. "Tickets to the events will go on sale August 1 through Select-a-Seat ticket outlets."
This year, there will be 26 Miss Kansas Candidates and 10 MKSOTeen Candidates. Since the local competition season concluded at the end of November for Kansas, COVID-19 did not cause any cancellations for local competitions.
"The current Miss Kansas 2019 Annika Wooton and Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen 2019 (MKSOTeen) Tori Pedruzzi will continue their year-of-service and retain their titles until the new 2020 state titleholders are named on September 6, 2020," Harris said.
Annika Wooton, 2019 Miss Kansas, said that while she was looking forward to the full week of Miss Kansas activities that have become tradition over the years, she is thankful the competition will still be held in Pratt by a team of people working to make the 3-day event ‘spectacular for everyone involved.’
"One of my board members called me at the beginning of all this and said, "well dear, this is a historic time to be Miss Kansas." And that really put things in perspective for me," Wooton said. "I have treasured the time prior to the pandemic that I had to physically travel across the state, represent Kansas in the Top 15 at Miss America, and be nationally recognized for my service work."
Though Wooton has made the most of her time in quarantine to connect with her worldwide audiences through art and the internet, Wooton said the isolation has allowed her to focus her service back towards the arts as her year of service comes to a close.
"The times in my life that I have seen my greatest personal growth have been the times that I have been faced with the greatest challenges," Wooton said. "It’s times like this when I’ve learned who I am, because that is what I needed to be."
One outlook, Wooton said, is that her extra months as Miss Kansas will serve as ‘added opportunity,’ and they will help make up for the months she has spent in quarantine.
Wooton can be booked for virtual Miss Kansas events by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The plan for 2020 Miss Kansas candidates is that they will arrive at Pratt Community College on Friday, September 4 at 9 a.m. with private interviews and talent rehearsals taking place the same day.
MKSOTeen candidates will report to Pratt Community college on Friday, September 4 at 6 p.m., conduct private interviews and talent rehearsals on September 5, and will be dismissed immediately following the MKSOTeen competition on Sunday, September 6.
The 2020 Sunflower Mentoring Program is still scheduled to take place over the competition weekend.
Though the date of this year’s Miss Kansas competition will be different from that of other years, Harris said she does not foresee this greatly impacting support for the event.
"The Miss Kansas Organization has many longtime volunteers and sponsors that dedicate their time, services and donations to promoting the success of young women in the state of Kansas," Harris said. "We don’t anticipate the change of date will significantly impact this support although we realize anytime you change an event date, a certain number of people may be impacted because of conflicting schedules."
Harris said the MKO will continue to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as well as directives from national, state, local governments, and the Miss America Organization.
"The health and safety of our titleholders, families, volunteers, and longtime supporters are the first priority," Harris said. "As we all continue to monitor and adjust our daily lives, school, and professions, the Miss Kansas Organization (MKO)will continue to do the same as preparations and planning takes place."
Updates will be provided through the www.misskansas.org website and on the MKO and MKSOTeen social media platforms.