Bluegrass Pageant draws big crowd

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Maggie Thompson Miss Bluegrass 2023

by Angela Jones

On Saturday, March 18, the 16th Annual Old Time Bluegrass and Fiddlers’ Jamboree Beauty Pageant drew a crowd of more than 300 family, friends, and pageant participants to the gym at Holladay School. Beginning at 1:00 a.m., the eight contests for girls ages birth to 21 did not conclude until late afternoon.

The big winner of the pageant this year is Maggie Thompson, daughter of Jimmy Thompson, of New Johnsonville, who took the final crown and the title of Miss Bluegrass 2023 in the 16-21 age group. By winning this crown, Thompson, along with the other three queens aged 6 or older, has qualified to compete in the Strawberry Festival Pageant that will be held in Humboldt in May.

“We’re thrilled to see so the families here today to support all of these beautiful contestants,” said event organizer Tina Arnold. “Congratulations to the winners! We hope all of the girls competing had a lot of fun.”

There were 75 contestants in the eight age group categories. For families with children of age to participate in both the toddler groups and the teen groups, the Bluegrass Pageant was an all-day event.

Proceeds from pageant entry fees, ticket fees, and concession sales go to support Holladay School and the programs that PTH helps to fund, such as Beta Club, sports teams, and so forth.

Judges for the pageants included Jessi Alexander and Stephanie Young, both from Jackson. Performing emcee duties again this year was Holladay’s own Kerri Arnold Lunsford, with a little help from her niece Kendall Jo Spivey.

Age divisions for contestants were birth-12 months, 13-23 months, 2-3 years, 4-5 years, 6-9 years, 10-12 years, 13-15 years, and 16-21 years. A queen was crowned in each of the age groups, with trophies awarded to the queen, first, second, and third maids. Certificates also were awarded to age-group winners for prettiest eyes, hair, and smile. See names and photos of all winners on page 10A.

In the Baby Miss Bluegrass (birth-12 months) group, Channing Cole, child of Brady and Sunni Cole, was crowned queen. Olive Anderson, child of Dylan and Aspen Anderson, was first maid. Ansleigh McDowell, child of Greg and Haley Brooke McDowell, was second maid. Sophie Bell, child of Becca Gray and Kaleb Bell, was third maid.

The Wee Miss Bluegrass (13-23 months) queen was Juliana Abbott, child of Jerome Abbott and Brandi Oswalt. First Maid was Ellie-Kate Anderson, child of Tyler and Bethany Anderson. Second maid was Brexleigh Blagburn, child of Bradley and Brittany Blagburn. Third maid was Berkley Berg, child of Jacklie Cooley.

Oakleigh Blaise Medlin, child of Charley and Jeffery Medlin, was named queen in the Tiny Miss Bluegrass (2-3 years) group. First maid was Aubree Bach, child of Chelsie Bach. Second maid was Callie Crawford, child of Bradley and Lacy Crawford. Maggie Smith, child of Trey and Nikki Smith, was third maid.

In the Little Miss Bluegrass (4-5 years) group, Emory Kate Douglas, child of A.J. and Justin Douglas, was named queen. Decklyn Fulton, child of Chelsey and Cliff Fulton, was first maid. Blakely Grace Dodd, child of Drew and Abigail Dodd, was second maid. Third maid was Westlyn Anderson, child of Dylan and Aspen Anderson.

The Petite Miss Bluegrass (6-9) queen was Ivy Jane Smith, child of Scotty and Heather Smith. First maid was Millie Hart, child of Derek and Molly Hart. Second maid was Presley Rikard, child of Page and Coty Roach. Third maid was Ava Kee, child of Michael and Whitney Kee.

Eden Holladay, child of Mike and Wendy Holladay, was named queen of the Junior Miss Bluegrass (10-12 years) group. Jaylee Grace Baugus, child of Will and Kristin Baugus, was first maid. Charleigh Boggs, child of Chuck Boggs and Kim Hartley, was second maid. Third maid was Sadie Jo Thomas, child of David and Amanda Thomas.

In the Teen Miss Bluegrass group, Piper DePriest, child of Brooke DePriest, was named queen. Riley Hairrell, child of Shonda Wood, was first maid. Second maid was Katelyn Harris, child of Matt and Heather Harris. Paisley Phifer, child of Time and Kristy Phifer, was third maid.

As noted, Maggie Thompson was named Miss Bluegrass 2023 for the 16-21 years age group. Remarkably, Thompson reported that she had never competed in a pageant before. First maid was Lily Moore, child of Misty and Garland Moore. Second maid was Haley Pinkley, child of Christian Pinkley. Taylor Quinn, child of Darla Quinn, was third maid.

The 16th Annual Bluegrass and Fiddlers’ Pageant took place the month before the 65th Annual Old Time Bluegrass and Fiddlers’ Jamboree. This year’s jamboree will take place on Friday and Saturday, April 14-15. See more coverage in upcoming editions. For more information about the April jamboree, call Holladay School at 731-584-6874 or visit 

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