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Pageant draws a crowd at Selma Mall

The Selma Mall was crowded Saturday night as parents and children alike gathered for the annual America’s Cover Miss and Cover Boy USA.

The pageant was divided into 10 age divisions, from birth to age 25.

Each winner received a crown, a trophy, title banner, and $150. The runners-up also received trophies and $150.

The winner of the Baby Miss competition was Carmen Howard. The infant was so excited about the competition that she fell asleep during her crowning.

Emeory Gates and Christian Strong were named Toddler Mr. and Miss. Zoe Ray won in the 2- to 3-year-old division.

Timia Coleman, age 5, was the winner in her division. Her mother said it was the fourth pageant the young girl has participated in.

The winner in the 7- to 9-year-old division was Selma resident Whitney Denson.

Laura Lee Nichols won in the 13- to 15-year-old division and Tameka Grimes was the only competitor for the 16- to 25-year-old division.

21-month-old Olivia Shappell from Meridian, Miss. was the overall Grand Supreme winner of the pageant. Despite Olivia’s young age, she proved to be a natural on the stage, waving, smiling and blowing kisses to the judges.

For receiving the highest scores, Olivia received a DVD player, a 5-inch tall crown and a trophy.

According to one of the pageant’s judges, the children were scored based on facial beauty, smile and overall appearance.

The winners now have the chance to participate in the state finals in Birmingham, April 25 through 27. At the state competition, more than $40,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded.

The America’s Cover Miss and Cover Boy USA pageant, based in Pensacola, Fla.,

has been in existence for 19 years. The local judges travel across Alabama looking for competitors for both the state and national competitions.

The Selma pageant, held every year at the mall, is known for drawing a large number of participants.