Miss Kansas USA
Competitors from across the state participate in the Miss Kansas USA and Miss Kansas Teen USA pageants.
Sarah Jump used to be the "hard-core skater girl," now she's the "pageant girl."
The 25-year-old Basehor native said she's addicted to competitions, and her enthusiasm and experience were obvious Saturday night at the Lied Center as she competed in the preliminary round of the Miss Kansas and Miss Kansas Teen USA pageants.
"I'm so calm," she said. "I've never been this calm before. I just feel very relaxed. I'm just ready to go, see how it turns out."
Jump, a petite blonde, began competing in pageants in 1999 at a mentor's urging. In 2000 she held the Miss Kansas Teen title.
Karen Elliott, contestant supervisor, helps girls in the frenzied backstage. She loves watching them gain self-confidence through the pageant. She said Jump stepped out of her comfort zone when she began competing.
"She could hardly put two sentences together when she was in teen," she said. "The year that she had the teen title she blossomed and now you'll find her very articulate, very self-confident. She's absolutely phenomenal, and I'd like to think it's through doing the pageant."
After the preliminary swimsuit competition, Jump said she was still collected. She took her time backstage as other girls rushed from the stage to dressing rooms to ready themselves for the evening gown competition.
Sixty young women are competing for titles they've had their eyes on for months, and the final winners will be selected today when the competition pageant begins at 7 p.m.
"There's a lot of girls here that are very determined," said Jump, who works in Overland Park for Coca-Cola. "Determined to pursue their careers in life and determined to do well in every aspect."