Ally Brotherson, Taylor Palmer get top posts at pageant
By Suzanne Dean
EPHRAIM—A young woman who has studied classical piano for nine years and wants to promote volunteerism was crowned Miss Sanpete County last weekend.
Ally Brotherson, 17, who was Miss Mt. Pleasant last year, won the title and a $2,000 scholarship in a pageant that included selecting Miss Sanpete and two attendants, and naming Miss Sanpete’s Outstanding Teen (a junior royalty title) and one Outstanding Teen attendant.
Another feature of the program, staged Friday, Aug. 9 at the Eccles Center at Snow College, was bestowing the Emily Braithwaite Woman of Service Award to an adult woman who has given exceptional service to the community.
And finally, six special awards, which came with smaller scholarship amounts, were handed to several of the 14 young women competing for either Outstanding Teen or Miss Sanpete.
“I was excited for sure—and shocked,” the new Miss Sanpete said in describing how she felt when her name was called. She said the moment was “such an emotional blur” that later she couldn’t remember everything she was feeling.
Ally is the daughter of Rich and Molly Brotherson and will be the fourth member of her extended family to reign as Miss Sanpete. An aunt, a cousin and her mother have all served in the role.
The Miss Sanpete Pageant is the only scholarship pageant in the county affiliated with the Miss America organization. Miss American is eliminating the swimsuit competition this year and increasing the emphasis on talent and on what are being called “social impact statements.”
Talent counted for 40 percent of the points in the Miss Sanpete competition. Ally, who has studied piano with Donnell Blackham of Moroni, played a complex piece on the piano called “Whitewater Chop Sticks.”
Another 15 percent of points were based on contestant responses to on-stage questions, including questions about their social impact goals, while 25 percent of points reflected an evening gown walk that concluded with delivery of their social impact statements.
In response to an on-stage question, Ally said, “Our community needs volunteers, and I would encourage and promote these volunteers, because we have something called volunteer burnout, and we need to combat that so we can have the events we do now.”
Ally graduated from North Sanpete High School last spring, where she was on the honor roll throughout high school; she was senior class vice president, and played basketball and tennis.
She was youth mayor on the Mt. Pleasant Youth City Council; is a registered volunteer for the Honor Flight program, which takes veterans to Washington, D.C.; and will be attending Snow College this fall.
In the Outstanding Teen competition, the winner was Taylor Palmer, 16, who will be a junior at Manti High School this year. She won a $500 scholarship.
For her talent, she juggled balls to a medley of contemporary music numbers. Her summary of her social impact goal is, “Soak up the sun: Encouraging people to get enough vitamin D.”
In response to an on-stage question she said she would promote ice cream among children, since dairy products have vitamin D.
“For teens, I really plan on using social media to my benefit in getting across how getting enough vitamin D can really predict how many people will get mental illness and how if you’re getting enough vitamin D in your system you can be a lot more energetic,” she said.
Taylor is the daughter of John and Linda Palmer of Ephraim. She was sophomore class vice president for spirit at Manti High last year. She has participated in speech and debate, and won first and second places in meets. She has also been a member of the Ephraim City Youth Council and competed in the Miss Ephraim Pageant earlier this year.
The mistresses of ceremonies for the pageant were Bellamy Sorensen of Centerfield, the 2018 Miss Sanpete, and Dexonna Talbot of Spanish Fork, who was recently crowned as Miss Utah.
Bellamy explained to the crowd that the Emily Braithwaite Woman of Service Award is named after a woman who was an attendant to both Miss Manti and Miss Sanpete. Bellamy said Emily Braithwaite had volunteered her talents in many ways between 2000 and her death in 2015 at age of 34.
The winner was Corinne Olsen of Ephraim, a woman who, “when she sees a need, she tries to fill it,” Bellamy said. “…She loves serving the community and must have extra energy to do all she does to serve others.”
Olsen said later that the honor had come as a complete surprise.
She is on the Sanpete County Fairboard and with her family has built the Fun-on-the-Farm exhibit, built benches for the fairgrounds and organized the children’s coloring contest at the fair.
She is the advisor to the Ephraim Youth City Council and volunteers with the Science Club at Manti High School. She has been girls’ camp director in her LDS ward for many years and was instrumental in getting pavilions constructed at the camp. And she has been involved in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4H.
Olsen lost her first baby during childbirth. Today, she volunteers at Sanpete Valley Hospital when a family has a stillborn baby. She takes photos and makes burial clothes for the baby.
The two attendants to Miss Sanpete are Ashtyn Childs of Centerfield, first attendant, who will receive a $500 scholarship, and Bailey Simons of Manti, second attendant, who won a $300 scholarship.
Ashtyn, 19, daughter of Gary and Annie Childs of Centerfield, is the outgoing Miss Gunnison Valley and a sophomore at Snow College.
Her social impact statement is, “Be uniquely you.” In delivering her statement at the pageant, she said, “Confidence is something we all deserve to have. Together, we can empower each other to embrace our unique differences and be confident in who we are.”
Bailey Simons, 20, is daughter of David and Allison Simons of Manti. A few years ago, she competed in a multicounty pageant and was named Miss Heart of Utah. She was also an attendant to Miss Manti.
She graduated from Manti High School, where she was a straight-A student and star on the tennis team, and attended Snow College for one year. She recently returned from an LDS mission to Germany and will be returning to Snow College.
She had a brother who died from injuries following a car accident. But he saved other lives by donating his organs. In all her queen roles, she has promoted organ donation. She has done extensive volunteer work for the Utah Lions Club Eye Bank.
Her statement during the pageant was, “One person can save up to eight lives through organ donations, and 20 people die every day because of the lack of it. You can make a difference, and I can show you how.”
The attendant to the Outstanding Teen will be Hope Marsing, 16, daughter of Nick and Christina Marsing of Manti, who will be a junior at Manti High School this year. At Manti, she has been involved in theater, state honor choir and show choir. She sang a musical theater number as her talent. She was also selected as an attendant to Miss Manti.
She wants to have a social impact by emphasizing “Unfiltered living.” That includes encouraging people to be their authentic selves and not try to conform to society’s “perfect image.”
Her on-stage question was, “If you could be any character from history, who would you be and why? Her answer was, “Probably my future self. My future self would probably be able to tell me what path to take and how to take it, and honestly, my future self would probably tell me to take a breath now and then.”
The six special awards included two prizes to young woman who exemplified the “Spirit of the Pageant” during competition. The winner in the Outstanding Teen category was Kaytlin Estey of Manti, who won a $50 scholarship, while the Miss Sanpete contestant winner was Ashtyn Childs, who won $100.
Karlie Strickland, an Outstanding Teen candidate, and Bailey Simons, who competed for Miss Manti, were named “Elite Fundraisers” for raising the most money to support the pageant and pageant scholarships. Karlie got a $50 and Bailey a $100 scholarship.
The Miss America organization’s main charity relationship is with Children’s Miracle Network, a nationwide network of children’s hospitals. Outstanding Teen candidate Taylor Palmer and Miss Sanpete contestant Dallas Taylor received “Miracle Maker” awards for raising the most money for the charity. Taylor received a $50 and Dallas a $100 scholarship.
The capstone of the pageant evening were the final walks and goodbyes of last year’s Outstanding Teen, Nikki Evans of Manti, and Miss Sanpete, Bellamy Sorensen of Centerfield.
During a taped statement that played as she made her final walk, Bellamy thanked her family and the community for their support during her reign.
“I will always be grateful for the hometown support I’ve received as well as the support from throughout the county,” she said. And to her parents, she said, “Thanks for dealing with my craziness during stressful times.”
She received a cheering ovation, with some in the audience standing.