Preliminary round 1 of the Miss Kansas Pageant featured swimwear judging and talent judging. Winning the silver trays for first place in those areas were Miss Cowley County Cassie Lohmeyer (swimwear) and Miss Augusta (Cari Anne Cashon).

From the moment the strobe lights came on and the music beats throbbed harder and louder, spectators and contestants alike knew it was go-time at the 2017 Miss Kansas Pageant in Pratt. Preliminary com- petitions started Wednesday in the transformed Dennis Lesh Dome Arena at Pratt Community College and high heels, stunning evening gowns and spectacular smiles were in abundance.

Turning nerves of steel, heartfelt mission statements and practiced poise into prize performances were preliminary round 1 silver tray winners Miss Cowley County Cassie Lohmeyer - first place swimsuit, and Miss Augusta Cari Anne Cashon - first place talent.

The five judges, Jonathan Black, Lora Barry, John Cougher, Jackie Desouza-

Van Blaricum and David Weincek, chose the winners after evaluating two groups of contestants, the Kappa group and the Sigma group. On Wednesday evening, the Kappa group competed in swimwear and evening wear, and the Sig- ma group performed individual talent numbers.

In swimwear, judges looked for confidence, composure and stage presence, while the evening wear competitors were judged on just a slight variation of poise, self-confidence and overall stage presence.As Sigma talent competitors got ready for their moment on the stage, each girl shared their reasoning behind the importance of one of four Miss Kansas competition pillars: style, success, scholarship and service, via prerecorded videos.The talent numbers ranged from dance variants and interpretive spoken word, to vocal and piano solos. The winning talent number was “Pirates of the Caribean,” a flamboyant piano solo by Cashon.

Competition continues with preliminary round 2 at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 8 when the Kappa group will showcase their talents and the Sigma group will bring swimwear and evening wear down the runway.

Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen competition takes place on Friday with two rounds of preliminaries at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and both Teens and Miss Kansas contestants take part in the Miss Kansas Parade downtown Pratt at 6 p.m. on Friday. Finals for both segments take place on Saturday with a 2017 Teen coronation at the end of the 2 p.m. finale. The new Miss Kansas will be named after the 7 p.m. finals at Lesh Arena. There are 33 Miss Kansas and 20 Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen contestants in the 2017 event.