KEWANEE — Thirty-seven contestants from across the nation and beyond participated in the fifth annual Miss You Can Do It pageant on July 26.
The pageant is held exclusively for young girls and women with special needs and was founded by Abbey Curran, 20, of Kewanee. Curran, who is the reigning Miss Iowa USA, has cerebral palsy but refuses to let the disability keep her down. Instead, she has set her sights on helping others to share the dream of doing anything they set out to do. Curran is the granddaughter of Jack and Wink Barry of Sheffield.
While everyone who participated was a winner, top honors went to: Little Miss You Can Do It Daleney Teske, Carroll, Iowa, 5- to 9-year-old division; Junior Miss You Can Do It Breezy Dunn-Reier of Montgomery, 10- to 14-year-old division; Miss You Can Do It Aly Long Rhinehart of Fontana, Calif., 15- to 18-year-old division; and Ms. You Can Do It Alexandra Schmitt of Brighton, Minn., 19- to 23-year-old division.
Area contestants who won awards included Kenna Nimrick of Kewanee for Best Casualwear in the Little Miss division; Carlye Akers of Geneseo for Best Casualwear in the Junior Miss division; Natasha Nimrick of Kewanee for Best Interview in the Junior Miss division; Abby Thorp of Kewanee for Best Interview in the Miss division; Susie Saylor of Atkinson for Best On-Stage Question in the Ms. division; and Morgan Thorp of Kewanee, who was second runner-up in the Miss division.
Judges for the event included Emma Samms, known for her role on “General Hospital;” Shawn Diddy, Miss Iowa USA 1977 and emcee of the 2008 Miss Iowa USA pageant; Rita Borrows, Galva, a teacher at Kewanee High School; Rhoni Perrine, Geneseo, an advertising representative from the Moline Dispatch; and Dr. Shirley Barrett, Miss America 1975.
Curran’s grandmother said a producer was at the pageant and is making a documentary on the event, in hopes HBO will pick it up in their lineup.