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Staff photo, Brooke Self
Miss Barstow Charli Burnett stands in front of a sign made by one of her sponsors. She competed in the Miss California Teen USA pageant.

Miss Barstow competes in Miss California

Burnett has been preparing since October

STAFF WRITER

BARSTOW • Charli Burnett has been competing in local pageants since she was 8 years old, winning a number of titles including Miss Route 66 Talent, Pre-teen Princess, Miss Teen Barstow and Miss Barstow.

But this past weekend the 17-year-old faced her most anticipated contest as she competed for Miss California Teen USA.

Burnett said she’s been preparing since late October with the help of Barstow native and former Miss California 2008, Raquel Beezley.

“She’s helped a lot through this entire process. I don’t even know what I would do if she wasn’t there,” Burnett said. “I’m really thankful for her.”

Kristine Watson, director for the Miss Barstow pageant, is also helping, assisting with wardrobe selections and training in her walk.

“She’s decided to wear the gown that she wore for Miss Barstow because it’s perfect, and you don’t mess with perfection,” said Watson, who has worked in pageants for over 30 years.

“Charli is a strong competitor,” Watson said. “She knows what she needs to do and I really think she’ll do well.”

On Friday, Burnett said the competition will begin when her mom drops her off and she walks straight into her first interview alongside another competitor.

“In the interview you have 10 people, five on one side and five on the other. You go left and she goes right and you have a minute and 30 seconds to literally tell them how much you want it and why you’re here,” she said.

“The entire thing is kind of nerve-racking since there are 120 girls,” Burnett said.

Judges will select 20 women out of 120 contestants to go on to the next round, immediately cutting 100, Burnett said.

At a gathering at Los Domingos a few days before the competition, approximately 25 of Burnett’s closest friends, family and sponsors met. She thanked them for their moral and financial support. Coming up with the $1,800 entry fee was one of the biggest obstacles to entering the contest, she said.

“I want to say to my community thank you for letting me do this and sponsoring me. It means a ton and supporting me through this process. I hope to make them proud and do well this weekend, so I can come home with a title,” she said.

The Miss California Pageant preliminaries took place Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. They can be viewed online for a fee at www.pageantvision.com.


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