Seven to compete for title of Miss Quincy Saturday night at Quincy Community Theatre

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Top row from left, Kayla Walker, Ashley Miller, Lily Twaddle and Shannon O’Neil; bottom row from left, Nicole Taylor, Darlene Steinkamp and Cailin Kimbro | Photos courtesy of Miss Quincy Scholarship Pageant

QUINCY — Miss Quincy Scholarship Program officials have announced the contestants for the annual Miss Quincy and Miss Quincy’s Teen Competition, presented by Gully Transportation. The event will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6. The Miss Quincy Scholarship Program welcomes 13 delegates to the competition, which will take place at the Quincy Community Theatre.

The theme for the event is “Long Live Cowgirls” and will feature special performances by Texas native and professional trick roper and whipcracker Kole Minor, speed painter Matt Lovell, vocalist Tamika Latchison and Ashley’s Dance Company. The WearHouse will have “The Hat Bar” set up in the lobby of the Oakley-Lindsay Center to offer attendees a chance to customize their cowgirl hats. 

Seven will compete to become Miss Quincy and earn a $3,000 college scholarship and thousands of dollars in prizes. The winner will represent Quincy at Miss Illinois, a preliminary competition to Miss America, in June in Marion. 

The delegates are:

Cailin Kimbro

  • Age: 22
  • Parents: Shane and Tiffany Kimbro
  • School: Western Illinois University (2023 graduate)
  • Major: Marketing
  • Employment: Real Estate Agent at Century 21 Purdum-Epperson, Inc. 
  • Talent: Hip Hop Dance and Tumbling
  • Community Service Initiative: Give them Distance: Protecting First Responders on the Road 

Kayla Walker

  • Age: 22
  • Parents: Chris Walker and Tara Ebel 
  • School: Oklahoma Panhandle State University (2022 graduate)
  • Major: Agriculture Business
  • Employment: Ag Commodity Trading Broker’s Assistant
  • Talent: HERStory
  • Community Service Initiative: Long Live Rodeo

Lily Twaddle

  • Age: 18
  • Parents: Justin and Deanna Twaddle
  • School: Quincy Senior High School
  • Major: Social Work and Theater
  • Talent: Vocal
  • Community Service Initiative: Arts for All

Nicole Taylor

  • Age: 19
  • Parents: Jon Taylor and Stacey Liggett 
  • School: John Wood Community College 
  • Major: Marketing
  • Talent: Lyrical Dance
  • Community Service Initiative: Pretty Precision

Darlene Steinkamp

  • Age: 27
  • Parents: Jason Steinkamp
  • School: University of Illinois Chicago
  • Major: Doctorate in Nursing Practice
  • Talent: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Community Service Initiative: Ending the Stigma on Mental Illness: It’s OK not to be OK 

Shannon O’Neil

  • Age: 19
  • Parents: Carla and Sean O’Neil
  • School: Culver-Stockton College
  • Major: Health Science
  • Talent: Bodybuilding with tumbling
  • Community Service Initiative: United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps 

Ashley Miller 

  • Age: 25
  • Parents: Chris and Toni Miller
  • School: Culver-Stockton College (2021 graduate)
  • Major: Communication
  • Employment: Children’s Advocate at Quincy Area Network Against Domestic Violence 
  • Talent: Self-Written Monologue
  • Community Service Initiative: Game Over: Pulling the Plug on Technology Addiction 
Top row from left, Allison Hughes, Olivia Schaller and Michaela Voth; bottom row from left, Alexis Lucie, Kennedy Artman and Alyvia Groom. | Photos courtesy of Miss Quincy Scholarship Pageant

Six will vie for the title of Miss Quincy’s Teen, a preliminary competition to Miss Illinois’ Teen and Miss America’s Teen. In addition to prizes, the winner will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship courtesy of Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences. 

The delegates are:

Allison Hughes

  • Age: 17
  • Parents: Scott and Teri Hughes
  • School: Payson Seymour High School
  • Talent: Dance
  • Community Service Initiative: Feeding the Future: Eliminating Child Hunger

Alyvia Groom

  • Age: 17
  • Parents: Jeff and Kim Groom
  • School: Pittsfield High School and John Wood Community College
  • Talent: Jazz Dance
  • Community Service Initiative: Helping Hands, Healing Hearts

Olivia Schaller

  • Age: 16
  • Parents: Dina Schaller and Seth Schaller
  • School: Illini West High School and Carl Sandburg College
  • Talent: Vocal
  • Community Service Initiative: Type One-derful

Michaela Voth

  • Age: 14
  • Parents: Michelle Voth and Lance Voth
  • School: Unity Middle School
  • Talent: Dance
  • Community Service Initiative: Welcome Home: Adopt a Sheltered Animal 

Kennedy Artman

  • Age: 15
  • Parents: John and Krista Artman
  • School: Illini West High School
  • Talent: Jazz Dance
  • Community Service Initiative: Promoting Sports for Youth

Alexis Lucie

  • Age: 17
  • Parents: Chuck and Tammy Lucie
  • School: Warsaw High School
  • Talent: Cardio Exercise Routine
  • Community Service Initiative: 4H for life
Top row from left, Rachelle Elizabeth Asher, Ahna York, Aurora Groman and Ava Martinez; middle row from left, Etana Lilako, Evie Lovelace, Ila Crider and Jacqueline Vardaros; bottom row from left, Jolene Willis, Nyla Miller, Presley Hamann, Rachelle Elizabeth Asher and Vivian Blickhan. | Photos courtesy of Miss Quincy Scholarship Program

Thirteen participants will take the stage in a fun-filled, non-competitive Miss Quincy’s Gems Program, an official local chapter of the Miss America Little Sisters Program. The program is designed for girls, ages 3-12, who are looking to improve upon skills that promote confidence and poise while receiving mentoring from the young leaders participating in Miss Quincy and Miss Quincy’s Teen. 

The participants are:

  • Vivian Blickhan, age 8, parents Sean and Neely Blickhan
  • Presley Hamann, age 8, parents Sydney Hamann and Jason and Arista Bauerly 
  • Jolene Willis, age 8, parents Jessica and Patrick Hollensteiner
  • Ahna York, age 9, parents Jerome and Blondale York
  • Etana Lilako, age 11, parents: Tiffany and Eddie Lilako
  • Aurora Groman, age 6, parents Joel and Tara Groman
  • Jacqueline Vardaros, age 5, parents Sid and Jacqueline Vardaros
  • Ava Martinez, age 9, parents Lorenzo and Rachel Martinez
  • Nyla Miller, age 3, parents Brad and Kristan Miller
  • Rachelle Asher, age 5, parents Garrett and Rachel Asher
  • Aaralynn Willard, age 7, parents Richard and Amy Willard
  • Evie Lovelace, age 5, parents Jessica and John Willis and Corey and Brittany Lovelace
  • Ila Crider, age 6, parent Shanice Crider

Matt Schmidt will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening. Mayor Mike Troup will present the new Miss Quincy with a flower bouquet during her crowning.

Tickets for the competition can be bought for $20 in advance at Boyer’s BootNShoe or $25 at the door. The Miss Quincy Scholarship Program encourages the community members this week to look at Bayview Bridge, which is lit pink in celebration of this weekend’s competition. Riverside BBQ and Grill is offering a limited-time “Cowgirl Burger.”

All delegates will compete in the areas of private interviews, talent, evening wear, on-stage questions and health and fitness. The swimsuit competition was eliminated from the competition in 2018, but the Miss America Organization is bringing fitness back to the stage this year. 

All delegates will model red activewear to support the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. To launch this initiative, Blessing Health System is sponsoring the health and fitness phase of the Miss Quincy and Miss Quincy’s Teen competition. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Blessing to further an overall goal of improving women’s health and well-being in our community,” Miss Quincy Executive Director Lindsey Hess said in a press release. “Our delegates have enthusiastically embraced the return of the health and fitness phase of the competition to support the Go Red for Women movement.”

Also new this year are Digital Strategist Awards, sponsored by Vervocity. Each delegate is utilizing social media platforms to promote her brand, raise awareness for her community service initiative and educate on the impact of the Miss Quincy Scholarship Program. Vervocity will award a scholarship to a winner in both the Miss Quincy and Miss Quincy’s Teen divisions. 

“The Miss Quincy Scholarship Program and Vervocity understand the power and influence of social media to create positive change,” Hess said. “Our delegates are elevating their voices through digital platforms, like Instagram and TikTok, to advocate for their passions.”

Miss Quincy 2023 Shelby Rose and Miss Quincy’s Teen 2023 Molly Gerard will be crowning new titleholders. Rose won the Quality of Life award, Women in Business award and the award for the Non-Finalist Top Score Community Service Initiative On-Stage Question at the state competition last June. In addition to earning $5,000 in scholarship awards through her winnings at Miss Quincy and Miss Illinois, Rose made dozens of community appearances and expanded her community service initiative, “Fostering Hope.”

“Serving as Miss Quincy has been an incredibly enriching and transformative experience for me,” Rose said. “It has been a privilege to represent my community, embody its values and work toward changes in our foster care system. The role has allowed me to connect with diverse groups of people, fostering a sense of unity and empowerment. It’s not just about wearing a crown. It’s about being a voice for positive change, inspiring others and contributing meaningfully to local initiatives.”

Gerard visited classrooms throughout Adams and Pike counties to promote her community service initiative “Plant a Seed: Educating the Youth on the Importance of Agriculture.” At Miss Illinois’ Teen, Gerard took home the photogenic award. 

“Whoever is gifted with the title of Miss Quincy’s Teen has a year filled with fun events, community service initiative promotion, sponsorships, becoming a part of the Miss Quincy family and their week at state to look forward to,” Gerard said. “She has so much to be excited for, and I hope she soaks in every moment of her year.”

The Miss Quincy Scholarship Program is an official local preliminary to Miss America, one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and the largest source of scholarships for women in the United States.

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