The annual Miss River Days Beauty Pageant was held Saturday night in the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, where Tori Reffit, of Minford, was crowned the 2016 Miss River Days Queen. Abbie Wright, of Valley, was also crowned First Runner-up, and Emily Hicks, of Portsmouth, was crowned Second Runner-up.
“We are very proud of Tori winning Miss River Days,” explained Minford High School Assistant Principal, Tate Skinner. “She is an excellent representative of our school, a quality person and a role model for all of our students. Three queens in four years says a lot about the quality of students we have and the amount of support our candidates get from the school, community, parents and student body.”
Emily Hicks also won People’s Choice, and Alaina Stowers of Clay won Miss Congeniality.
Other contestants included: Kayla Phipps from Glenwood High School, Hope Shepherd from Northwest, Mackenzie Brown from Notre Dame, Colbie Hanes of South Webster, Maggie Salmons of Wheelersburg, Jordan Keys of East, Kayliegh Coleman of West and Kaylynn Blizzard of Green.
Each of the girls curated a platform for their candidacy, centering around a topic of their choice and community service.
Reffit’s platformed revolved around volunteerism, and L.O.V.E which stands for, Learn, Observe, Volunteer, and Encourage.
“I am so incredibly blessed to have even had the opportunity to participate in the River Days pageant and festivities,” said Reffit. “God has done great things for me, my community, my church and my school through this experience. I was able to spread awareness and education of my platform and through being Miss Minford. I can’t wait to further that education even more with the title of Miss River Days. God has blessed me beyond measure, and I am more than excited to begin my journey as your 2016 Miss River Days Queen.”
Wright’s platform revolved around literacy, and the importance of fostering an early love for reading.
“I feel very blessed. It’s incredible to see how God has worked through my platform and just how my journey as Miss Valley has transformed into my journey as Miss River Days first runner up,” explained Wright. “I am excited to see what God decides to do as I take on this next season of my life. I want to thank my family, pageant mom, friends, community, and the River Days staff for all the hard work, dedication, and support they gave me.”
Hicks centered her platform on sexual assault and domestic violence awareness, hosting several self-defense seminars.
After being crowned, Hicks posted to her Facebook community page, “Now that my journey of being Miss Portsmouth is over, I am proud to say that I am your new Miss River Days Second Runner-Up. I want to say thank you to so many people who helped me along the way. My parents Teresa and Eric Hicks thank for always being so supportive, love you more than anything. To my pageant moms, Jennifer Schackart and Jennifer Skaggs you are amazing. I am more than grateful to have had you by my side. To my friends and family you are all awesome! I can truly say I had the best student section ever. Love you all, and thank you for making this experience full of happiness.”
According to pageant director, Lori Lowe, this year’s pageant was extremely successful.
“This year, tickets sold out three weeks before the pageant,” explained Lowe. “It was a certainly a scramble for tickets, probably more-so this year than any years in the past. There were a lot of people who wanted to see the pageant, but unfortunately could not get tickets.”
Lowe says they’ve looked into the possibility of moving the pageant, but the Vern Riffe Center is the best fit for now.
“It’s the largest venue in town and there are just so many positive things that it offers. It’s a central location, the amenities like the lighting and the sound are great too,” said Lowe.
This year’s theme for the floats was centered on the 2016 Olympics “River Days goes Rio,” float winners were:
Grand Champion, Emily Hicks of Portsmouth, 1st Runner Up Alania Stowers of Clay, 2nd Runner Up, Hope Shepherd from Northwest, 3rd runner up, Kayliegh Coleman of West.
Other title winners include:
Baby Miss River Days Princess – Elaina Dunham. Baby Miss River Days Queen – Bella Whitt.
Wee Miss River Days Princess – Riley Brisker. Wee Miss River Days Queen – Molly Koenig.
Toddler Miss River Days Princess – MacKenzie Bentley. Toddler Miss River Days Queen – Scarlet Treadway.
Tot Miss River Days Princess – Lainie Morgan. Tot Miss River Days Queen –Layni Conkel .
Tiny Tot Miss River Days Princess –Aubrey Wilson. Tiny Tot Miss River Days Queen –Zeiden Osborne.
Tiny Miss River Days Princess – Cami Sturgill. Tiny Miss River Days Queen – Callie Dehart.
Little Miss River Days Princess – Ava Rush. Little Miss River Days Queen – Kihana Schaffer.
Junior Miss River Days Princess – Izzy Darnell. Junior Miss River Days Queen – Carly Thoroughman.
Young Miss River Days Princess – Kylan Darnell. Young Miss River Days Queen – Madison Russell.
“Their service doesn’t end once they’re crowned,” said Lowe. “They will continue to work in their platforms and travel around the state, working and representing Portsmouth, sort of like ambassadors for the area.”
For more information about River Days, you can go online to www.portsmouthriverdays.org, or Facebook “Portsmouth River Days.”
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.