Newly crowned Miss Nevada Outstanding Teen Lauren Watson and Miss Nevada Katherine Kelley wave to the crowd together on the stage, ending the pageant at the Smith Center on Saturday, June 27, 2015.
Sunday, June 28, 2015 | 8:32 p.m.
Something I learned over the weekend: When having a bottle of wine delivered to a small reception, that vino will arrive much faster if you drop the name of Susan Anton than if you don’t.
It was late Friday night at the Flamingo, after the judging panel for the Miss Nevada America and Miss Nevada Outstanding Teen competition had returned to the hotel from the Smith Center. The two pageants were held Friday and Saturday in Reynolds Hall, with Katherine Kelley (Miss Summerlin) winning Miss Nevada on Saturday afternoon and Lauren Watson (Miss Lake Mead) also announced Saturday after voting had concluded Friday night.
That day was long, as it should have been, jammed with several hours of private interviews of all contestants at the Flamingo and the later completion at Reynolds Hall for the Miss Outstanding Teen contest.
Afterward, the judges ambled into a post-event party (“decompression experience" would be a more accurate term), and an order of wine was made.
It took a while, but when the staff arrived and saw Anton in the room, it was, “Wow! You headlined here! Commercials! Merv Griffin! You were in the Miss America Pageant!"
Anton laughed … and poured a glass, well deserved (though I raised my customary glass of iced tea). The panel was wide-ranging, with 1995 Miss Nevada Jennifer Lier, a great singer in Las Vegas, serving as lead judge. Also serving were Vegas Magazine Editor-in-Chief Andrea Bennett, “Jersey Boys” Music Director and Composers Showcase of Las Vegas founder Keith Thompson, Washington state Miss America official Mike Miller and UNLV Athletics Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy.
This process of judging the Miss Nevada pageants requires a great deal of preparation, hard work and genuine care. Having covered the national pageant at Planet Hollywood during its run in Las Vegas from 2006-2013, I was well aware of the organizational challenges and work put into staging the event. The preparation of the contestants always has been evident. But where I was most impressed was during those private interviews, which are akin to 8- and 10-minute press conferences.
These young women handled themselves ably as questions were volleyed from everywhere on the panel. “How do you feel about the latest Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriages legal across the country?” “How is the development of the Tesla plant in Reno going to change the economy of that region?” "It says here you can recite the alphabet, backward, in five seconds. Can you do that now?”
The Miss Nevada organization faced searing, and deserved, criticism after last year’s contest showed a scoring irregularity that led to two contestants it the Miss Nevada Outstanding Teen competition being sent to the national pageant in Orlando, Fla., as “co-winners.” Jodi Fonfa was brought in to reset the organization in Las Vegas, and Dana Martin (wife of Smith Center President Myron Martin and a former Miss Texas) headed up this year’s pageant production team and assembled the judging panel. Brought in as co-emcees were Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton-Holmes, who were, predictably, outstanding as they alternately entertained, introduced and navigated the production.
The importance of this show was further reinforced by the presence of Sam Haskell, the national Miss America CEO. With thousands of dollars in scholarship money being delivered to some truly impressive young women, this year’s competition awarded a pair of winners who will represent our state admirably. I was honored not only to serve, but also to spend quality time working with a group of judges who were hard-focused on doing this right. And we did.
As they say in such instances, “Cheers.”
Flamingo One of the more historic hotel-casinos on the Strip, the Flamingo Las Vegas was built in the 1940s as an alternative to the western-themed hotels downtown. With lush gardens, waterfalls and spa, the Flamingo remains a luxurious oasis for visitors on a budget. The resort updated rooms in 2008, dubbed Go Rooms. The Go Rooms feature oversized white vinyl headboards, stylish carpets and sleek, modern furniture.
Included in the resorts 15-acre pool area, is one of the Flamingo’s more unique features: African penguins, Chilean flamingos, Mandarin ducks and Koi fish frolicking in ponds and under three-story waterfalls.
The Flamingo’s 77,000-square-foot casino offers more than 2,000 slots, 70 table games and a 100-seat race and sports book.
Restaurants include a Japanese hibachi, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and a posh American eatery called Voga.
3555 Las Vegas Blvd South Las Vegas,
NV 89109 702-733-3111
Smith Center for the Performing Arts The Smith Center for the Performing Arts offers a blend of performances by resident companies and touring attractions. The 5-acre cultural campus features three performance spaces, which includes a main performance area with more than 2,000 seats. This downtown cultural center of Las Vegas looks to educate, entertain and excite community members.
To provide and preserve a high-quality performing arts center that is embraced by the community and recognized as a vital force by supporting artistic excellence, education and inspiration for all.
To entertain, educate, enrich and inspire the southern Nevada community.
Thanks to the generous support of our dedicated founders, members, donors and community partners, The Smith Center continues to provide a wide variety of services for Southern Nevada residents, including access to world-class performances, inspirational Education and Outreach programs for students and teachers, and a unique space to host events, meetings and special occasions. Celebrating our fifth season, we depend upon public support to fulfill our mission and serve as the Heart of the Arts® for many years to come.
With ticket sales covering just 75 percent of our operating budget for each season, the remaining 25 percent comes from the community we serve. Philanthropic support at all levels helps provide programming that entertains, educates, enriches and inspires. By giving to The Smith Center, you play a vital role in providing an important resource for our community.
There are many opportunities to volunteer and play a direct role with your community’s performing arts complex. Volunteers engage with staff and patrons to enhance experiences at The Smith Center, and can serve in various capacities including tour guide/docent, usher, security team member or community ambassador. As important members of The Smith Center team, volunteers help us remain financially sustainable and provide numerous services for the community. Please show your support for The Smith Center’s mission by gifting your time and unique skills.
Members’ annual support provides crucial resources for The Smith Center’s artistic programming, education opportunities and cultural enrichment each year. There are a variety of giving options and levels, and Members receive exclusive benefits and behind-the-scenes opportunities based on their level of support. To learn more, please visit www.thesmithcenter.com/support-us/members.
The Encore Society recognizes those generous donors who have included The Smith Center as a part of their estate plan. Corporate Sponsorship is available to companies to underwrite all, or part, of a program, performance or event.
Fanfare! is The Smith Center’s young progressional networking organization, open to anyone with an interest in the performing arts who is between the ages of 21-40. And our Show Dedication allows for the celebration of an individual or special occasion with unique recognition opportunities during a specific performance.
The Smith Center provides world-class performing arts and outreach and education throughout the Southern Nevada region.
The organization originally formed in 1996 as the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Myron G. Martin President and CEO Donald D. Snyder Chairman Dr. Keith Boman Vice Chairman Mark Tratos Secretary Michael Yackira Treasurer David Dunn Alan M. Feldman Richard Haddrill Fred Hipwell Nancy Houssels Todd-Avery Lenahan Scott MacTaggart Jerry Nadal John Nelson Richard Plaster Rory Reid Kim Sinatra Roger P. Thomas
361 Symphony Park Ave Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas,
NV 89106 702-749-2000
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