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Copperas Cove beauty queens chow down for hot dog eating awards

Special to Leader-Press


From wearing tiaras and dresses on the city float to stuffing hot dogs into their mouths in an eating contest, the Copperas Cove Five Hills royalty proved at the Belton July 4th celebration that they are more than just gowns and crowns.

Eight-year-old De’Ziyah Gilbert did not hold back in Belton’s inaugural hot dog eating contest as she gave it her all against competitors twice her age.

“I love hot dogs, so this was something I was looking forward to doing,” the reigning Junior Miss Five Hills said after downing three hot dogs in three minutes. “I didn’t win, but I took third place and that’s not bad at all. If I didn’t have to eat the bread, trust me, I would have won.”

Teen Miss Five Hills Angelica Torres, 15, edged out Gilbert and would have won the kids’ contest if she was able to swallow all she stuffed in her mouth.

“The competition was fierce. I placed second and tried so hard to win because I am very competitive,” Torres said. “I did not worry about being lady-like. I was just trying to get as many dogs down as a I could.”

Copperas Cove Five Hills Ambassador Dawn Hale placed third in the women’s division.

“I was nervous entering my first hot dog eating contest as I had a fear of not keeping them down. Let me tell you, trying to speed eat hot dogs is harder than you think,” Hale said. “I was happy that I was able to eat one and a half hot dogs in three minutes. They were some pretty big dogs. I hope what I learned will help me do better in my next attempt.”

Preteen Miss Five Hills Dorianna Gilbert was not as enthusiastic about the hot dog eating contest but participated to represent the City of Copperas Cove.

“This was my first time ever doing something like this. I was nervous,” Dorianna Gilbert said. “I’m pretty sure I came in fourth place. In my eyes, I was a winner because I did something I thought I couldn’t do.”

The hot dog eating contest followed the annual Independence Day Parade with this year’s theme, Honoring Heroes.

“Seeing all the entries decorated with flags and in red, white and blue got me a little chocked up and made my heart swell with pride,” said Hale who is a U.S. Army veteran.

Torres is a military dependent and her father is a Purple Heart recipient.

“Seeing all the people celebrating America filled me with pride since my dad served in the military,” Torres said. “But I think I loved most the memories I made with my pageant family.”


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