EPHRAIM—The crowd rose to their feet with loud cheers and applause as the new Miss Sanpete County accepted her crown on Saturday night at the Snow College Eccles Center.
Gracy Christenson, daughter of Miranda Christenson of Gunnison, became the new queen. She says she is looking forward to working with her attendants and new teen queen to serve Sanpete County.
Besides the crown, Christenson received a $3,000 scholarship. Anna Johnson, daughter of Clifford Johnson and Madeline Johnson of Ephraim, was named first runner-up and received a $750 scholarship. Cari Jo Carmody, daughter of Tom and Candy Carmody of Manti, was second runner-up and received a $500 scholarship.
Christenson drew a loud supportive roar from the crowds when she answered her onstage question dealing with transgender females being allowed to play in female athletics.
“I do not agree that they should be allowed,” Christenson said. “I do believe in equal opportunities. I believe that transgenders should have their own division.”
Christenson also wowed the crowd with her piano solo to “Great Balls of Fire,” dressed in a stunning red dress.
“My favorite part of the pageant was becoming close friends with all the girls and my directors,” Christenson said. “I also loved playing my piano song.”
Also receiving a crown and $1,500 scholarship as Miss Teen Sanpete was Bethany Jessop, daughter of Samuel and Megan Jessop of Fayette.
Jessop was very passionate about her social impact initiative called “Breath Easy.”
“I am excited to inform the people of Sanpete County about the dangers of radon gas and host fundraisers to help those with elevated levels who can’t afford the air filtration systems,” Jessop said.
Jessop lost her mother after she got cancer from exposure to radon gas, and she wants to spread awareness everywhere she goes.
Attendants for the Miss Teen Sanpete will be Ava Jensen, daughter of Kyle and Aimee Jensen of Mt. Pleasant, first attendant, and Kamree Taylor, daughter of Dave and Kathy Taylor of Fountain Green, second attendant. Jensen and Taylor received scholarships of $500 and $250, respectively.
Jessop said she loved meeting all the girls and seeing how much talent Sanpete County has.
More than $7,000 was awarded to eight different candidates from seven communities in Sanpete County in different scholarship classifications.
“We had 13 amazing young women compete for $7,400 in scholarship money,” Abby Ivory, Miss Sanpete director, said.
Ivory said that the preparation for the competition included developing a social impact initiative (SII), perfecting a talent and studying up on local and national issues facing youth, including gun violence, women in politics and transgender youth in sports.
“We certainly had a display of the best of the best of Sanpete County Saturday night,” Ivory said.
The new Miss Sanpete earned her associate degree from Snow College and is planning to attend Utah State University this fall. Her goal is to become a registered nurse.
She said the hardest thing about the pageant was all the preparation work that goes into it. “Each girl works so hard,”Christenson said. “It’s scary to putyourself out there on the stage in front of an audience.”
Christenson plans to start a mental health support group on social media, host mental health education nights bring back the Mini Miss pageant her family has directed for years and implement her platform throughout that pageant.
Jessop, Miss Sanpete Teen 22, will be a sophomore at Gunnison Valley High School where she is a member of the Bulldog cheer team and participates in choir, drama, tennis and orchestra.
The hardest thing about the pageant, she said, was working up the confidence to believe in herself and believing that she could do the things she had to.
Committee leaders said they enjoyed having 2021 queens, Ashtyn Childs and Likely Brotherson, represent Sanpete County this past year. They said the two young women exemplify the values and strengths of Sanpete County.
“We are thrilled to have Gracy and Bethany represent Sanpete County this upcoming year,” Ivory said. “They are excited to get to work on their SII, help with the Sanpete County Fair and get to work with the citizens in the county.”