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Missing Miss Kansas this year in Pratt

Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune
The 2019 Miss Kansas competitors perform a group number on the first night of competition. The 2020 competition has been postponed until Memorial Day 2021 so for the first time in 65 years, there will be no Miss Kansas competition in a calendar year.

And the new Miss Kansas for 2020 is...

For the first time since 1955, there was no Miss Kansas competition in Pratt during the first week of June. This long-running tradition became another victim of the coronavirus. At first, the competition was postponed until September but later, the Miss Kansas Organization Board of Directors made the decision to postpone again until Memorial Weekend in May of 2021. That competition will be held at Pratt Community College as usual.

As for the reigning Miss Kansas Annika Wooton and Miss Kansas' Outstanding Teen Tori Pedruzzi, they will both retain those titles until the 2021 competition. The current Miss and Teen candidates have the opportunity to keep their local titles and can compete in 2021, according to a press release from the Miss Kansas Organization. Title holders were all notified in the middle of May about change.

As the coronavirus continues to rearrange lives and activities, more and more events that are a yearly tradition have been postponed or held with safety variations or completely canceled.

Events like homecoming and prom and graduation and Memorial Day and now Miss Kansas have all been impacted.

For Wooton and Pedruzzi, they are in uncharted territory. A big part of their duties is to get out and present their platforms to the public. The virus has changed all that and new ways of communicating had to be figured out just like everyone else has to do.

Pratt has played host to the Miss Kansas competition since 1955 and to all the Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen competitions. This is the first time in 65 years that a competition will not be held in a calendar year.

For years, young women from varied backgrounds have come to Pratt, already having achieved some level of success in their lives. They come here to showcase their talent, platforms, goals and dreams.

This year there is no temporary stage and lighting and sound system in the Dennis Lesh Arena at PCC. There are no evening dresses or talent costumes or containers full of shoes and makeup. There are no fans, no coaches and no Sunflower Princesses. There is no parade, no autograph session, no preliminary's and no final night competition to crown new title holders.

Without Miss Kansas and Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen competitions, part of the energy that makes Pratt a community is missing. The excitement, the anticipation, especially when a local competes, helps get summer off to an exciting start.

I miss getting to know the competitors. I miss sitting in the front row and trying to get that perfect shot during talent or on-stage question or evening wear.

I miss the excitement of trying to figure out who will win before the judges hand in their ballots. I miss the tears, some of them mine, when the previous Miss Kansas takes her last walk down the runway and says goodbye. I miss the excitement of that moment when the new title holder is announced.

But for now, that excitement will have to wait. When that announcement comes next year, it will be part of the return to normal we all need.

It’s been a season of changes in many ways or Pratt and the wider world. I know I, like many others, look forward to hearing, "And the new Miss Kansas for 2021 is..."