Gunnison Valley crowns 50th anniversary royalty
By Robert Green
GUNNISON—The Miss Gunnison Valley Pageant celebrated a special 50th anniversary by inviting all the former queens to attend this year’s contest.
Several of the former queens gave special performances to the audience at the Gunnison Valley High School on July 6.
McKenna Taylor was crowned queen for 2019-2020 after adopting her platform of being S.M.A.R.T. on social media. She believes that social media can be used in a positive way if people are taught to be smart about it.
Other girls selected as royalty are Gracy Christenson, first attendant; Jentrie Jackson, attendant; and Aubree Jensen, attendee. All the girls were judged on their written platform and their talent of piano and singing to this year’s theme of “My Girl,” said pageant director, Kara Jensen.
“We celebrated 50 years and invited all former queens to a meet and greet,” Jensen said. “We also asked them to join us on stage that evening to honor them.”
The national anthem was sang by Miss Gunnison Valley 1999 Kayla Brown. The 2002 queen Melissa Nay Ghandour sang and the 2016 queen Bellamy Sorenson played the piano.
The former queens that were honored on stage were: 1974 Lori Christenson Nay; 1997 Michelle Dalley Smith; 1999 Kayla Sorenson Brown; 2002 Melissa Nay Ghandour; 2009 Hannah Christenson Neal; 2014 Madee Christenson Clark; and 2016 Bellamy Sorenson.
The 2018 queen Ashtyn Childs gave her final walk with her parents Gary and Anne Childs and sister Bryndee met everyone on stage for a final goodbye.
“The contestants all worked very hard,” Jensen said. “As a director I saw a huge change in the girls as they performed on stage from when we started our practices. Their confidence was incredible. They will all serve our valley very well. I am so proud of every one of them.”
Jensen mentioned this will be her last year directing the pageant as she is turning the reins over to Lindzey Harding.
Jensen said she will be around to help, but she just can’t be in charge anymore. “I am very thankful for the opportunity the last 6 years to be part of the pageant,” she said. “My husband and kids have helped so much and have dealt with my crazy pageant schedule over the years. I will forever cherish my time with all the girls I have encountered. They have taught me so much.”