I didn't know what to expect when I was asked to sit on a panel that would throw questions at Miss Montana Christie Hageman, to prepare her for her grilling during the Miss America Pageant. I agreed to participate, figuring I should help a Billings girl trying to hit the big time. Besides, she's a fellow blogger, and we stick together. So I went to the Masonic Center Wednesday night and did my part. I knew a few people on the seven-person panel, including former TV newsman and blog regular Dave Rye, City Clerk Marita Herold and Rimrock Opera President Lucinda Butler, also a former citizen rep on the Gazette's editorial board.
I won't go into all the details, but I will assure you that Montana will be well represented by Christie. She stood up well to our questions, sounding informed but undogmatic on issues like gay marriage and the war in Iraq, and sounding passionate on anything having to do with education and music. She is an aspiring opera singer herself, but I'm afraid last night's session did not include a sample of her talent.
I think it's safe to say that we panelists were a little nervous about our role because the organizer, a woman whose name escapes me, told us to be as aggressive as possible, even to the point of interrupting Christie and one another, and trying to keep her off balance with tough questions on any possible topic. That apparently is the kind of questioning the contestants are subjected to as part of the pageant. I should say, by the way, that I can't remember the last time I actually watched a pageant. And even if I could, being a guy, would I admit it? This year's pageant will air on Jan. 21 on CMT.