130 contestants vie for Cove crowns on Saturday

Special to Leader-Press 

The Miss Copperas Cove Five Hills Scholarship Program hosts the sixth annual pageant on Saturday with 130 boys, girls and women competing for one of 18 titles and the opportunity to represent the City of Copperas Cove. 
With the hashtag of #MoreThanABeautyPageant, the program prides itself on not being a standard beauty pageant but rather a scholarship program that will award more than 80,000 in scholarships and prizes on Saturday to contestants ranging in age from 11 months to 50-plus years.
The 2018 titleholders have raised more $15,000 for city programs and departments this year, providing funding for the library’s children’s summer reading program, the city’s animal shelter, Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful and the Parks and Recreation Department with the purchase of sensory playground equipment in South Park.
With more than 265 appearances in since their year-long reigns began, crowning their successors on Saturday is bittersweet for the current royalty. Copperas Cove Five Hills Ambassador Emily Kimball reigned for two years with the program, amassing more than 1,200 hours of service as the preteen queen last year and this year as the ambassador.
“My reign has impacted me so much by giving me the opportunity to work towards my service platform of ensuring the humane treatment of animals. I got to spend so much of my unused time at the animal shelter and at events benefitting the shelter because of my love for all animals and the many opportunities provided by this pageant,” Kimball said. “This past year was so much fun and I can’t wait to participate in the pageant in years to come.”
Kimball’s sister, Allyssa, runner-up to the title in 2017, returned to capture the crown in 2018. She said the past year has been an amazing experience.
“I have learned and tried so many new things that I may never had an opportunity to try. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. I have grown so much and this year has changed me for the better,” Kimball said. “I am so much more skilled at public speaking, meeting new people, and I now have so much respect for volunteers and all that they do. I don’t think any of this would have been possible without this pageant and I am so grateful for the way it has molded me into a better person.”
Miniature Miss Five Hills Naomi Williams, 4, has volunteered more than 400 hours through her title this year. Her mother, Danielle, has witnessed the changes in her daughter.
“Naomi had an awesome year and met lots of new friends. She got to have fun and help people in our community,” Williams said. “She loved riding on the floats and walking in the 5K walks with her pageant sisters.  Naomi’s always been a confident child but she’s even more so now.”
Preteen Miss Five Hills Briana Liles started her year-long reign very shy. But, her pageant experiences have caused her to grow more confident and improve her public speaking skills.  
“This year has been more than I ever thought it would be,” Liles said. “I was able to help children who are suffering from alopecia like me. The pageant has helped me achieve so much like gold level Presidential Volunteer Award, National Lemonade Day Entrepreneur of the Year and Central Texas Incredible Kid. I am definitely not ready to crown my successor, but I am eager to see what she will do with her year in our community.”

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