BY VELMA SOUTHERLAND
Miss Greene County Sarah Stokely won the Swimsuit competition in Wednesday evening's first preliminary round of the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant being held this week in Jackson.
There are three preliminary competitions, held on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, in which a winner is announced in Swimsuit and Talent, while the scores of the contestants competing in the Evening Wear/Onstage Question are kept secret.
Stokely wore a two-piece swimsuit that was predominately dusky turquoise with dusky pink/magenta trim.
The winner of the Talent award was Miss Knoxville, Rachael Turner, with her vocal rendition of "Ah! Je Veux Vivre."
This is the first time that a Miss Greene County has won a preliminary competition since the franchise was re-activated by Terri Lamons in 2007.
When the franchise was owned earlier by the Greeneville Jaycees and then by Ali Burkhard and her husband, the late Jack Burkhard, Jan Charles also won a swimsuit preliminary. She was Miss Greene County 1990.
Ali Burkhard said Wednesday evening following the competition that she could not recall another Miss Greene County preliminary winner, although Brooke Waddell placed as second runner-up when she competed as Miss Greene County in 2009.
Wendy Miller (Miss Greene County 1992) had also finished as a second runner-up, but Burkhard could not recall whether she won a preliminary category or not.
Also on Wednesday evening, Greeneville's Lilly Crouch, competing as Miss Johnson City, performed a tap dance to "Run Away Baby" in the talent competition.
She wore a short, black dress with fringe for her fun number.
STOKELY 'STOOD OUT'
Lamons said that Stokely, "Has stood out like all week long. She's wonderful."
She also related that in the important private judges' interview on Wednesday, Stokely said she had the best interview she has ever had.
Stokely even managed to work into the interview a Ronald McDonald rap that is considered terrific by the Greeneville folks who helped her prepare for the Miss Tennessee competition.
The 20-year-old Stokely is a resident of Newport and a student at East Tennessee State University.
The state pageant allows only 36 contestants for the title of Miss Tennessee and the opportunity to compete in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant.
Many of the local contests are open so that young women from all across the state are able to compete for scholarship money with which to complete their education.
Miss Greene County is an open pageant.
In tonight's preliminary competition, Stokely will compete in Evening Wear/Onstage Question and Stokely's platform of "Commit To Your Community," which encourages everyone to become a volunteer, is likely to be the focus. and Crouch will compete in Swimsuit.
The show is available streaming live on the Internet at ETVPLUS 6.
For those who wish to send a card to a contestant, simply address the card to her, with the mailing address of Signature Boutique Hotel, 1935 Emporium Dr., Jackson, TN 38305.