The Miss Southwest/Ouachita River Scholarship Competitions were held Saturday, July 16 at Hempstead Hall on the campus of the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. Eight candidates competed for two Miss Titles and five candidates competed for two Teen Titles. Over $13,000 in scholarship funds, in-kind gifts, and prizes were awarded.
Following competition in private interview, on-stage interview/social impact pitch, talent, and evening gown, Allie Graves of Texarkana, Texas, was crowned Miss Southwest 2023. Melody Stotts of Texarkana, Arkansas, was crowned Miss Ouachita River 2023. Graves received the overall talent award. Stotts received the overall evening gown award and the title of Miss Congeniality.
Teen candidates were judged in private interview, lifestyle/fitness, talent and evening gown/onstage question. Chloe Hargis of Woodlawn was crowned Miss Southwest OT 2023 and Allie Bell of Conway was crowned Miss Ouachita River OT. Hargis received the overall evening gown award and Miss Congeniality title. Graves, Stotts, Hargis and Bell will compete in the Miss Arkansas and Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen competitions June 3-10, 2023 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Special guests were Miss Arkansas 2022, Ebony Mitchell, and Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen 2022, Ka’Mya Tackett. Miss Arkansas 2021, Whitney Williams served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Miss Southwest 2022 Gabriella Tidwell, Miss Ouachita River 2022 Kelsie Everett, and Miss Ouachita River OT 2022, Mikala Clendenin performed and crowned the new representatives at the end of the night.
Jamie Pafford-Gresham is the current Executive Director of the Miss Southwest and Miss Ouachita River Scholarship Competitions. Her love for the Miss Arkansas Organization developed from her daughter’s involvement and seeing her grow as a person through the preparation and community involvement required for the candidates. Jamie and the board of directors for the competition were awarded “Local Preliminary Competition of the Year” by the Miss Arkansas Organization Board of Directors in 2019.