East Texas contestants prep for pageant titles

East Texas contestants prep for pageant titles
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: Kassidy Brown
Source: Kassidy Brown

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Since the 1970s, Lufkin has seen six pageant winners from various divisions.

One family in particular is passing the tradition onto the next generation.

"This is my evening gown, which I won't be showing yet. The first time it will be showing will be on the Miss Texas Outstanding Teen stage," said Lacey Jo Thompson, a contestant for the Miss Texas Outstanding Teen.

Although Lacey is keeping the dress a mystery, the talent and devotion is on full display. As a second-generation contestant, she is mirroring her aunt, Jo Thompson, who was crowned Miss Texas in 1987.

"She has been such an amazing support. She is absolutely thrilled that somebody is following her footsteps," Lacey said.

However, those steps of being a contestant are not as easy as they seem.

Tara Watson-Watkins, who was crowned Miss Texas in 2000, explained the importance of support.

"We've produced winners in this area, and I don't think this area makes us any different than the others except for the fact that we are a close-knit community," Watson-Watkins said.

In addition to support, Watson-Watkins said this area provide a great bank of role models, who were past winners, where they have the ability to pass the lessons onto the next set of women.

So far, Lufkin has produced three winners in the Miss Texas Outstanding Teen and three from Miss Texas, and local supporters take great pride in offering resources to back the contestants.

"There is a huge community support because our community understands what it means to be Miss Texas and what it does for our young women, said Kassidy Brown, a contestant for Miss Texas 2017.

Brown, who was also a Miss Texas Outstanding Teen in 2014, said it take a village to raise a contestant.

"It's very rare for such a small town to truly understand the taking on of the Miss Texas title or the Miss Texas Outstanding Teen title, but Lufkin gets it. They understand how hard these girls work for that," Brown said.

Although the competition is several days away, Lacey said it takes months of preparations.

"You have to definitely mentally prepare yourself to go and compete for something like this" Lacey said.

The competition is set to begin Friday. Contestants will then embark on a week-long series of events.

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