BARSTOW • The Miss and Teen Miss Barstow pageant contestants primped at the Cutting Edge Hair and Nail Salon on Tuesday afternoon in anticipation for the competition on April 6.
The seven girls got pedicures and relaxed while they mingled and chatted.
"This is my third year and I'm more excited than I am nervous just to get on stage and strut my stuff," said Miss Barstow contestant Candace Rose.
This year marks the 74th for the pageant in Barstow and Director Kristine Watson's 30th. The theme is "Country Sizzle" and Watson said the stage, opening number, music and some of the dialogue will all center around it.
Preceding the pageant Watson said the girls rehearse three hours every Wednesday in March and participate in a fashion show, fundraising car wash and dinner. These events give them a chance to work on their communication and presentation skills, according to Watson.
"Everything they do is training them for the night of the pageant," she said.
The girls are also trained on how to interview, walk on stage and model outfits.
The contestants joined outgoing Teen Miss and Miss Barstow, Nicole Gutierrez and Charli Burnett, in a short video filmed at Calico Ghost Town that will be aired the night of the competition.
Sixteen year-old Juliet Manzanares who is vying for Miss Barstow said she was looking forward to the interview portion of the competition most.
"I love talking, so I'm really excited to get to know judges from out of town and just have a regular conversation with them," she said.
Manzanares was Teen Miss Barstow 2011. She said she was excited to see how humble and community involved the other contestants are this year.
"I'm really excited to see what's to come for the future queens because I know they're going to be really involved," she said.
The Miss Barstow competition has run continuously since 1939 and is one of the longest self-sustaining pageants in California, according to Watson. She said the pageant was awarded the title of "Best Local Pageant in the Nation" for five years in a row from the International Pageant Association.
In January 2013 the current Miss Barstow, Charli Burnett, placed in the top three in the Miss California competition and the Barstow pageant is also where both Miss California 2008 Raquel Beezley and Miss California Teen USA 2006 Jessica Powell got their start, according to the Barstow pageant website.
"Barstow is very supportive of the long-standing tradition, even in the hard times, because they see the value that it is for the women that compete," she said. "It's helping to sculpt young women in becoming viable community-based or oriented young women who work in the community."
The last event before the big day will be the invitation-only Queen's Reception, which will be held at the Harvey House on Thursday. The night is an opportunity for the outgoing Miss Barstow and Teen Miss Barstow to thank all of their supporters throughout the year.
On the day of the pageant 52 children will compete for various age group titles, according to Watson, and the Miss and Teen Miss Pageant will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets to attend may be purchased from any of the contestants and the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce before April 3 for $10 or at the door for $15.