With more than $105,000 in scholarship money and a tiara at stake, 20 young women from across Montana will meet in Glendive Sunday through Saturday to compete in the 2006 Miss Montana Scholarship Program.
"We are extremely excited to welcome the girls on Sunday," said Avice Hoff, president of Image Production and co-executive director of the program. "We have a fabulous production within a production."
Contestants are judged based on performance in talent, evening gown, onstage interview and physical fitness and lifestyle (swimwear) competitions. Each contestant also has a personal interview with the judges.
Ten contestants will compete in swimwear and evening gown and the other 10 in talent and onstage interview at 7 p.m. on Thursday They reverse roles on Friday.
Next Saturday, all 20 contestants will be onstage in evening gowns and swimwear. The top 10 compete in talent. Then, the top five will be announced, culminating in the crowning of Miss Montana 2006.
The pageant theme is Caribbean Rhythms, with dancers, singers and a comedy routine. The pageant emcees are Jana LaBree Cass, Miss Montana 2000, and Ryan Sokolowski, Makoshika State Park manager.
The finalists are Jillian Brunsvold, of Billings; Brittany Fosjord, of Billings; Christie Hageman, of Billings; Heidi Haw, of Billings; Meredith McCannel, of Billings; Vanessa Ready, of Billings; Katrina Valkenburg, of Billings; Jennifer Olsen, of Boulder; Paulina Carollo, of Bozeman; Tiffany Kniepkamp, of Circle; Kari Rude, of Cut Bank; Lacey Kirschenmann, of Glendive; Nicole Dowson, of Great Falls; Jennifer Hepner, of Great Falls; Anna Marra, of Great Falls; Emily Marie, of Helena; Olivia Shjeflo, of Kalispell; Kristen Mantooth, of Lewistown; Mallory Stinger, of Polson; and Chelsea Luedtke, of Terry.
Finalists were chosen from more than 75 contestants. Miss Montana's Outstanding Teen Holly Matz (Missoula) will also be in attendance, as will Miss Wyoming and Miss North Dakota.
Tickets for the Saturday coronation night are $15. Tickets for Thursday and Friday are $10.