LEXINGTON, Ky. - For one local 19-year-old beauty and scholarship queen, the dream of being crowned Miss Kentucky and having the opportunity to vie for the prestigious title of Miss America is now a reality.
Thirty-one contestants representing local scholarship pageants from across the state were vying for the title of Miss Kentucky 2012 at the Singletary Center for the Arts on the University of Kentucky campus Saturday evening. Only one would walk away with the crown and title, and that young lady was Pikeville native Jessica Danielle Caseboat, a graduate of Pikeville High School who presently attends Georgetown College where she is majoring in political science.
Casebolt was previously crowned Miss Goldenrod, which qualified her to compete in the Miss Kentucky pageant. Prior to the main event, contestants had already completed preliminary competitions. On Saturday night, the field was quickly narrowed to 13 semifinalists, who competed in talent, evening wear and swimsuit categories before being narrowed to five finalists, who answered a brief, lighthearted interview question on stage.
The winner’s platform for the evening was “Heart Health Awareness.”
Casebolt’s mother, Carol Casebolt, said during an interview that her daughter chose that platform because there is a history of heart disease in their family, and because she has enjoyed working with heart patients as a volunteer at the Pikeville Medical Center. For her talent, Casebolt sang “Superstar.”
Her biography stated she is teaching herself to play guitar and proudly hosts her own radio show for East Kentucky Broadcasting. Casebolt had planned to attend the Oxford University in the fall where she will pursue a law degree, but those plans will be put on hold for the next year, during her reign as Miss Kentucky.
The new Miss Kentucky is no stranger to the pageant circuit, having captured the second runner-up trophy in the Miss Kentucky Junior Pageant in 2008. She won in the actress, casual wear and spokesmodel divisions. In 2009 during the same pageant, she won the volunteer service, talent, top model, most photogenic, casual wear and spokesmodel awards. She was names as 4th runner-up in the 2010 pageant and in 2011, was chose as a preliminary swimsuit winner.
She is now considered the state’s official hostess, representing the “Kentucky Proud” marketing program for the state’s Dept. of Agriculture, providing motivational programs for students, stressing the importance of supporting and purchasing products grown and manufactured in Kentucky, as well as appearing at conventions, parades and other events.
The remaining top five 2012 Miss Kentucky contestants finished as follows:
Olivia Henken, Miss Fayette County as first runner-up; Jefra Bland, Miss Bowling Green, second runner-up; third runner-up went to Annie Franklin, Miss Monticello, and the fourth runner-ups was Ashley Ferry, Miss Jeffersontown.
Over $38,000 in cash scholarships were awarded to contestants in addition to numerous prizes and in-kind scholarships to various colleges and universities. Casebolt will also represent Kentucky in the 2013 Miss America Pageant, scheduled to be held in Las Vegas in January.
If Casebolt is successful in capturing the Miss America title next year, she will be the second Kentucky beauty queen to hold the title, following in the footsteps of Heather French, who won the competition in 1999.