By Samantha Swindler / Managing Editor
The first annual Relay for Life Pageant held at Corbin High School raised more than $3,000 for the American Cancer Society and garnered 56 contestants from newborns to young adults.
One of the highlights of the event was the crowning of 8-year-old Savannah Dinkins as the 2009 Relay for Life Queen. Savannah, the only contestant who was a cancer survivor, has been in remission for the past four years after battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer.
Savannah is the daughter of Chris and Erika Dinkins of Corbin, and her parents were worried about their shy daughter’s first pageant experience. When organizers Michelle and Kayla Felts learned that Savannah was the only cancer survivor in the pageant, they named her the 2009 Relay for Life Queen and presented her with a special crown and sash.
“I think it was a surprise to her,” Michelle said. “...I think she was excited.”
Other cancer survivors who were friends or relatives of contestants were also honored on stage. Michelle said that the mother of Taylor Hubbard, who took top honors in the teen division for ages 13-16, has been diagnosed with cancer.
The pageant was the brainchild of Michelle’s 16-year-old daughter Kayla, who’s been participating in pageants herself for years.
“We just happened to be at the walk last year and my daughter does pageants,” Michelle said in an earlier interview, “and it just kind of touched her being at the walk last year, and she decided she wanted to be a part of the Relay for Life.”
A week before Saturday’s event, Michelle had only four contestants.
“At that point, I was really wondering if it was going to be worth doing,” she said, but people signed up in the final days of registration, and the number of contestants grew to 56.
“Within the last week, it all just started to flow together,” Michelle said.
Money raised came from entry fees, admission fees, a raffle and concessions. Local businesses donated prizes for contestants or money toward crowns and sashes.
“We were very pleased,” Michelle said. “Of course you see that there are some little things that you can improve upon. We didn’t have a lot of volunteers that could help us.”
Girl Scouts volunteered to work concessions, and all judges donated their time for the event.
Special guests and performers included Presley Morgan, 2008 Miss Preteen Capital City; Breanna Smith, 2008 Little Miss Kentucky; and Katie Himes, 2009 Miss Kentucky Teen America.
“I’m really excited that people were pleased with it,” Michelle said. “Usually you hear more of the negative comments, and it’s good to hear those to see what areas you could improve upon... but with all the parents, we haven’t heard anything negative so far.”
Michelle said she’s working on a Web site about the pageant with photos and information for next year. Corbin High School’s Redhound Productions is selling DVDs of the pageant to families. Money from the DVD sales benefits the school, not Relay for Life.
Winners of the 2009 Relay for Life Pageant were:
• Infant Miss Megan K. Smith
• Baby Miss Jozy Rae Vanover
• Baby Master Caleb Lee Knight
• Tiny Toddler Miss Natalee Ann Rickett
• Toddler Miss Jenna Faye Prewitt
• Toddler Master Kaleb Smith
• Wee Miss Landry Prewitt
• Wee Master Aden Wagner
• Tiny Miss Lauren Alissa Sanders
• Tiny Master Slater Bryce Storms
• Petite Miss Baliee Renee Okuma
• Petite Master Jonas Ethan Sevier
• Preteen Miss Shaylla Raye Shelton
• Teen Miss Taylor Hubbard
• Miss Hayley London
• Relay for Life Queen Savannah Dinkins
Relay for Life Pageant raises $3,000 for charity
By Samantha Swindler / Managing Editor
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Leaders of the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA), the oldest youth rodeo program in American, has appointed Ryan Worley, a junior at Corbin High School, to the Wrangler High School All-Star Rodeo Team.
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