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Sun, Sept. 20

Handing over the crown
Three hopeful teens will vie for the title of Miss Route 66 Williams at upcoming pageant

Ryan Williams/WGCN<br>
Current Miss Route 66 Williams Crystal Heiser displays the crown this year’s winner of the pageant will earn the opportunity to wear.

Ryan Williams/WGCN<br> Current Miss Route 66 Williams Crystal Heiser displays the crown this year’s winner of the pageant will earn the opportunity to wear.

WILLIAMS - Preparations are in high gear for the Seventh Annual Miss Route 66 Williams Pageant held in conjunction with the annual Cool Country Cruise-In car show.

Crystal Heiser, current Miss Route 66 Williams, said she will miss representing Williams once she relinquishes the crown.

"It was extremely fun and I don't want to let it go because it's going to be really sad," she said.

This year's pageant, to be held Saturday, Aug. 14 at 10 a.m., is sponsored and presented by Christmas Tree Gallery and Williams Realty, 402 E. Route 66.

Event Organizer Pimi Bennett said three young ladies will vie for the crown this year.

Erin (Lilly) Macks, 16, Flagstaff High School, April Zicopoulos, 14, Williams High School and Cynthia (Ruth) MaKerney, 14, Williams High School have already begun preparing for the pageant.

"They've been rehearsing very hard and I'm proud of every single one of them," Bennett said. "They're just wonderful."

The winner of the pageant will earn the right to wear the coveted crown and sash as well as the opportunity to represent the city of Williams at special events throughout the year.

According to Bennett, another important aspect of wearing the Miss Route 66 Williams crown is one of community service.

"She helps with the many community organizations like Salvation Army, Clean and Beautiful and the food bank," she said. "It's very important to give back to your community as well."

Miss Route 66 Williams contestants must be between the ages of 14-19, be unmarried with no children, live in the 86046 zip code, and currently be attending high school, college or a trade school.

Knowledge of the history of Route 66 is required, demonstrated in an essay on the Mother Road as well as what wearing the crown would mean to the contestant.

The competitive portions of the pageant include a personal introduction, extracurricular activities, talent segment, formal wear and the contestants' answer to a question about Route 66.

Judges will score each category on a scale from 1-10 in each category with the overall high scorer earning the crown and title. The pageant's judges will be from Route 66 communities outside of Williams and immediately surrounding areas.

Bennett, in her third year chairing the pageant, said many in the community have stepped up with donations and sponsorships to help make the pageant a success.

"Without that support it couldn't happen," she said.

All three contestants will receive prizes including a Route 66 tote bag, dinner coupons, make-up, jewelry and clothing.

Bennett applauded Heiser for her efforts over the past year.

"Crystal Heiser did a wonderful job and just because she won't be Miss Route 66 Williams anymore doesn't mean she won't be active in the community," Bennett said.

Heiser said representing Williams at regional events was a highlight of her tenure as Miss Route 66. She offered one bit of advice for this year's winner.

"Always cherish the town of Williams," she said. "And, always be nice to people."

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