Five Hills royalty make a splash at Spring Ho, win multiple awards

Special to Leader-Press 


From parades, kayak competitions, cardboard boat races, and diaper derbies, the Copperas Cove Five Hills royalty represented the City of Copperas Cove at the 50th Annual Spring Ho Festival by capturing multiple awards. 

Titleholders ages 13 and older entered the kayak races sponsored by the Texas Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Five Hills Ambassador Dawn Hale and Miss Five Hills Karina Dominguez partnered in the adult tandem race capturing second place despite that neither had kayaked before.

“Being the oldest competitor, I was pretty surprised to capture second place in both the tandem and the individual races,” Hale said. “I have come to learn through the pageant you are only limited by what you don’t try to achieve.”

“Becoming part of the Five Hills Royalty has pushed me out of my comfort zone to represent Copperas Cove with enthusiasm, pride, and the muster up the courage to do things I’ve never done before and i couldn’t be more thankful,” said Dominguez who also placed third in the individual adult race. “Events like this one are always perfect opportunities to get out into the community and advocate for the beautiful city of Copperas Cove.”

Young Miss Five Hills Emily Kimball competed in both the individual race and the tandem race with Teen Miss Five Hills Angelica Torres, capturing third place.

“It was an opportunity to represent my Copperas Cove title with wide visibility and I got to try something new. So, it was a win-win,” Kimball said. 

Titleholders 12 and younger built their own boats using only cardboard and duct tape in the Spring Ho Cardboard Boat Regatta. 2021 Five Hills Junior Ambassador Maddox Tobias and 2020 Five Hills Junior Ambassador Hayley Sawyer both captured first place in their respective age divisions.  

“I just kept rowing,” Tobias, 5, said, “And then when I got turned around, I decided to put the Mario kart in reverse and paddled backwards so I came in sideways for the win.”

Sawyer also teamed up with Preteen Miss Five Hills Dorianna Gilbert in the doubles race. The boat immediately tipped over, but Sawyer and Gilbert continued to swim and pull their boat to the finish line, winning third place.

“It was definitely a challenge, but I was able to cross that finish line with my head held high. I did something that was a new experience,” Gilbert said. “The best part was cheering my royalty family on and how we took time to support each other.”

Junior Miss Five Hills De’Ziyah Gilbert is not an experienced swimmer but was willing to enter to represent the City of Copperas Cove through her title. 

“I overcame my fears by doing this race,” De’Ziyah Gilbert said. “I didn’t win this event, but I will definitely practice and come back even stronger next year to do this race.”

The youngest competitors were 3-year-old Miniature Miss Five Hills Haelyn Hendrix and 2020 Little Mister Five Hills Jordan Hendrix, age 5. But, age was not a factor as the duo won first place in the doubles race in the 5-9 year old age division and tied for Best of Show with their boat. 

“We were afraid to get in at first, but we are so glad that we did it because we won,” Haelyn Hendrix said. “We dressed up as policemen because our boat was a police boat.”

Miniature Mister Five Hills Edward Sanchez, 5, also tied for Best of Show with his military-style boat, the U.S.S. Sanchez. 

Baby Miss Five Hills Blakely Fight won second place in her heat in the Spring Ho Diaper Derby and the royalty participated in the parade representing different Spring Ho themes over the last 50 years.

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