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Miss Mississippi Competition pushed back at least one month

In response to worries and fears connected to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Miss Mississippi Corporation announced Tuesday it was rescheduling the Miss Mississippi Competition.

“Because of the uncertainty of COVID-19, a more definite date cannot be given at this time,” Miss Mississippi Competition Executive Director David Blackledge said in a statement on social media Tuesday night. “We continue to monitor the information being provided by the Centers for Disease Control, the federal, state and local governments involved and their guidelines in making future decisions regarding our competition.”

Blackledge said Wednesday that one of the corporation’s board members, Dr. Carlos Latorre, a local physician who is also serving on the state’s COVID-19 task force, advised the event’s leadership to push back the event at least one month.

Originally scheduled for June, competition organizers are now looking at the first two weeks in July as possible dates for both the Miss Mississippi Competition and the Miss Mississippi Outstanding Teen Pageant, which was scheduled for later in April.

“We had reserved these dates as a backup plan,” Blackledge said in an interview with The Post Wednesday. “This buys us some time for people feeling confident coming to the competition.”

Specific dates for both the Miss Mississippi Competition and the Miss Outstanding Teen Pageant have not been confirmed.

“This thing has a lot of moving parts with us right now. One thing kind of leads to another,” he said.

In addition to considering the safety for all involved, Blackledge said, they have also had to consider the corporation’s sponsors.

“Some of our sponsors like Waterview, Riverwalk and Ameristar, they are all closed down, so we can’t even meet,” Blackledge said.

This loss of sponsorship could affect the ability to televise the state competition.

“If we couldn’t televise it won’t be the end of the world,” he said.

Even if the competition was only a stage show, Blackledge said the top priority will be to ensure everyone feels safe.

If for any reason, the pandemic continues longer than expected, Blackledge said, the competition would be pushed back and restructured.

“If people get back into school, you can’t ask them to take a week out of school, and who’s going to come to Vicksburg? At that point we would have to go down to a condensed competition, meaning two or three days,” he said. “I hope we don’t get to that, but you have to keep all options on the table.”

If the dates in July don’t work out for one reason or another, the next available dates with the Vicksburg Convention Center would be in September.

“Miss America told us we have until Sept. 30 to do both the teen pageant and the Miss Mississippi Competition. They have extended the deadline,” Blackledge said, adding the original deadline had been set at Aug. 2. “Everybody is trying to keep a positive attitude and keep it moving.”

As of Wednesday, Blackledge was not aware of any contestant, or anyone else connected to either the teen pageant or the Miss Mississippi Competition, who had contracted the virus.

“Fortunately, nobody associated with us has had it,” he said.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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