And the winner is …

Locals compete for crown, scholarship money


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Harper King is crowned Miss Chugiak-Eagle River Outstanding Teen 2014 by Regina Lochner, last year’s winner.

CINTHIA RITCHIE

The Chugiak High auditorium was transformed into a masked ball on Saturday, Jan. 11 when 10 contestants competed for pageant titles under the Miss Chugiak-Eagle River Scholarship Program.

Emily Soule won the Miss Chugiak-Eagle River 2014 crown, while Harper King was awarded the Miss Chugiak-Eagle River Outstanding Teen 2014 title.

The pageant, in its 43rd year, is part of the Miss America program.

Contestants are judged on interview questions, fitness (teens), swimsuit, eveningwear and on-stage question.

According to program director Kristina Cupples, the program is not a beauty contest.

“The contestants are competing to be the winner, and the better they do, the more they win,” she said.

Miss Chugiak-Eagle River receives an $800 scholarship and the teen title winner receives $400.

The program also hosts the Queen Regent, which honors a mature woman of high community standing.

This year’s honor went to longtime Chugiak resident Marydith “Bunny” Beeman.

This was Soule’s first pageant.

“I was shocked when Kristina Cupples said my name,” she said.

Soule was apprehensive beforehand.

“I shook through the entire dress rehearsal,” she said. “I was so nervous.”

Later, she took a bath, read a book and got a good night’s sleep. The next morning she woke feeling rested and confident.

“I was sure I would do my best. However, I didn’t feel confident that I would win,” Soule said.

Soule wooed the audience with her smart, funny and well-performed rendition of “The Girl in 14 G.”

Soule has studied under vocal coaches Charlene Smith and Linda Duce and was selected for USA Youth Ensemble during high school.

She worried that the humor wouldn’t come across in the shortened version of the song.

“I was pleasantly surprised when the audience started laughing,” she said. “It gave me the confidence I needed to really go all out.”

Soule is presently working on a book drive associated with “China Horizons.” She’s also applying to graduate school.

She hopes to use her Miss Chugiak-Eagle River title to encourage reading among Alaska’s youth.

King attributed part of her Outstanding Teen title to her outstanding drumming skills.

King, who has been drumming for about eight years, planned a different percussion routine for the competition.

The night before the performance, however, one of her props fell apart and she had to switch to a new routine.

“I didn’t get to practice my talent very much,” she said. “I played some beats from old songs that I already knew and mashed it up into one piece.”

King has been competing in pageants for the past year and a half. Her weakest area is the fitness routine.

“I’m always nervous I’ll do the wrong moves,” she said. “I’m not exactly the strongest girl out there.”

While King felt confident throughout the evening, she felt the crown could have gone to any of the contestants.

“Hearing my name called was an amazing feeling,” she said. “I was so nervous going into coronation.”

Both Soule and King will compete in the Miss Alaska competition in May.

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