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story.lead_photo.caption Preteens compete for final judging during last year's Miss Texarkana Twin Rivers Pageant. This year's pageant takes place on Saturday, Aug. 24. The Miss competition starts at 6 p.m. and the Little Miss competition starts at 10 a.m. Both are held at the Pleasant Grove High School Performing Arts Center. Photo by Tiffany Brown

TEXARKANA — Six new titleholders will be crowned at the upcoming Miss Texarkana Twin Rivers official Miss America preliminary on Aug. 24.

The local competition will name new winners for Miss Texarkana, Miss Texarkana Twin Rivers and Miss Twin Rivers, plus an Outstanding Teen for each of those categories. Miss Texarkana Twin Rivers represents Texarkana, Arkansas, while Miss Twin Rivers is a Texas title. Miss Texarkana represents the Texas side of town.

The Miss competition starts at 6 p.m. and the Little Miss competition starts at 10 a.m. Both are held at the Pleasant Grove High School Performing Arts Center.

There is still room for more contestants. "The deadline to enter is the 16th (of August)," said Donna Berry, executive director of the Miss Texarkana Twin Rivers Scholarship Organization.

This year's theme? "It's called 'Miss TTR goes Country,'" Berry said, so expect to see contestants sporting red tops, dark-washed blue jeans and boots for the opening number.

Miss Texas Outstanding Teen Allie Graves will be a featured guest, performing her state talent. She's the local teen who recently participated in the Miss America's Outstanding Teen pageant. Berry said Graves, a former Miss Texarkana Outstanding Teen titleholder, won overall vocalist and overall non-finalist talent winner, two big awards, at nationals.

"One of the things we're going to do is we're going to do a tribute to Annie (Lillian) Platz Cunningham. That's our first Miss Texarkana," Berry said. Cunningham passed away at the age of 101 in March. 

"We're excited about that. And we would like for any of the former Miss and Teens to be there and to be recognized also," Berry said.

This year Shawn Edmonds, now a co-director for Miss Texarkana, is over production of the show, working with current titleholders. They'll be part of the entertainment. "Along with our Little Miss winners from that morning," Berry said.

Outgoing titleholders will perform talents they showed at state competitions in Arkansas and Texas. Current titleholders are Miss Texarkana Twin Rivers Danielle Duggan, Miss Texarkana Twin Rivers Outstanding Teen Rachel Mullino, Miss Texarkana Megan Alexandra Gibson, Miss Texarkana Outstanding Teen Olivia Grace George, Miss Twin Rivers Jasmine Bruce, Miss Twin Rivers Outstanding Teen Gwennyth Simmerman.

"We think it's going to be a night of celebrating Texarkana," Berry said. They'll also recognize important people in the Miss TTR organization.

The Miss and Teen competition includes the following categories: private interview, physical fitness in aerobic wear (for Teen), talent, evening wear and on-stage interview (for Miss). And as for winning the titles, scholarship funds are just one of the prizes.

"We're going to be giving close to $108,000 in in-kind scholarships made available that night," Berry said. "That's huge."

She credits the support of businesses and the entire community with what the Miss Texarkana Twin Rivers Scholarship Organization is able to do. "It takes everyone working together," Berry said.

(Tickets: $15 for Teen & Miss, $10 for under 5; $10 for Little Miss, $5 for under 5. Tickets are available at the door. More info: or 903-824-0575.)

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