After this year’s Miss Utah competition was postponed to 2021, county pageant organizers are trying to decide how to move forward with their competitions. Local titleholders are also learning to adjust during the pandemic.
County organizers throughout Utah are making decisions about how to hold local pageants after the announcement from the Miss Utah Scholarship Organization that the statewide competition will be held next year, in light of current pandemic mitigation efforts. The reigning Miss Utah, Dexonna Talbot, will hold her title for another year.
Originally, the competition was postponed from May to August. However, when the Miss America organization announced the national competition would be held in the later part of 2021, the time scale for state competitions was changed.
“It kind of did feel a little bit like this opportunity that was so great is poof, gone," Samantha Barney said.
Barney is currently serving as Miss Herriman. She said although it was sad to see the pageant get pushed back so far, she respects the decision of Miss America organizers to postpone the competition to eliminate risks from the pandemic.
According to Barney, the Miss Herriman pageant is typically held in November, and city organizers are tentatively planning to hold the pageant this year as usual. If the pageant is held, Barney’s successor will take her place as Miss Herriman.
“The thing is, I still want to compete at Miss Utah. That’s still my plan. And so what will happen is, I’ll still be able to run for Miss Utah, but I won’t be a titleholder really leading up to it," she said.
This means two women will be representing Herriman at the next Miss Utah competition. This seems to be a solution many counties are considering.
Although Barney is not sure what the next year will hold, she is confident everything will work out.
“This next batch of candidates for Miss Utah, we’re going to be the most prepared candidates they’ve ever seen," she said.
For Miss Bear River Valley, Lindsay Hales, a decision has not been made on how organizers will proceed with her local pageant.
Titleholders dedicate themselves to a year of service, and often take breaks from school and work to fully serve their community. Local titleholders often halt many big life decisions during their term since they commit to not getting married and are required to spend large amounts of time in their home county, which can make moving difficult.
“When you compete at Miss Utah, that kind of marks the end of your year, and so you’re planning that next year of your life," Hales said.
Hales said she was planning to move out of Bear River Valley to finish school, but now, she isn’t quite sure what she will do. Regardless of the outcome, she said she is ready to do whatever is needed.
Along with complications from the Miss Utah competition being pushed back, social distancing precautions have made it difficult for titleholders to serve in the community at their full capacity.
With the lack of appearances and social events, Hales said she turned to technology to interact with the Bear River Valley community.
“I’ve been doing a virtual storytime once a week on my Facebook and Instagram account for Miss Bear River Valley which has actually had a really good response," she said.
Hales said she is also thankful for any extra time she has to serve the community, and make a difference.