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The Miss Hamilton Pageant was established in 1974 by a group of dedicated women involved in several local organizations. The Coterie Club, Cosmopolitan Club, and Twentieth Century Club served as the original sponsors. Linda Chadwick Tringas was named the first director. Nineteen young women entered the stage to the song, "More." Talent included vocal performance, instrumental and piano arrangements, string art, twirling, wardrobe display, and monologue. The first Miss Hamilton was Sandra Tice, a charismatic contestant that won the judges over with her comedic performance of the Edith Ann character made popular by Lily Tomlin on Rowen and Martin's Laugh-In. Our first Miss Hamilton was awarded $100 and ten Marion County businesses furnished her Miss Alabama wardrobe.
Miss Hamilton originated as a closed pageant, accepting eligible contestants that lived, worked, or attended school in Hamilton. It remained a closed pageant for twenty years, from 1974 to 1993. No pageant was held from 1994 to 2004. The Miss Hamilton Pageant resumed in 2005 as an open pageant, attracting young women from around the state. In 2012, the Miss Hamilton Pageant Board voted to, once again, become a closed pageant exclusively for young women from Hamilton. In 2015, the Miss Hamilton Board voted to extend entry to all eligible young women from Marion County, Alabama. In 2016, the pageant added Hamilton's Outstanding Teen, an official preliminary to Alabama's Outstanding Teen Pageant. Once again, in 2019, the competition was opened to young women throughout Alabama.
A number of former Miss Hamilton titleholders have worked with the Miss Hamilton Board of Directors as board members, volunteers, or advisors. The current Miss Hamilton Director was Miss Hamilton in 1987. Several Miss Hamilton associates have also transitioned to working with Miss Alabama. One of the founders, Kathy Holloway, became a much beloved and longtime backstage mom at the Miss Alabama Pageant. She worked with the pageant until her death in 2011. Our first Miss Hamilton, Sandra Tice Seals, continues to work with Miss Alabama, serving as a backstage mom each year. Miss Hamilton 1986 RaJane Chadwick Johnson is currently an official judge for Miss Alabama preliminaries. Mitzi McDaniel became involved with Miss Hamilton in its earliest years and eventually served as director. She is now a field director for Miss Alabama, traveling to local preliminaries, providing guidance and support to ensure that the high standards of the Miss America Organization are consistently met.
The Miss Hamilton organization operates under the umbrella of the Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce. The Miss Hamilton Board of Directors works to provide titleholders with comprehensive guidance and support. We recognize that each titleholder is an individual, with unique needs, interests, and beliefs. Our goal is that every titleholder complete her year of service having achieved the greatest personal and competitive development she is capable of at that point in her life. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the first Miss Hamilton Pageant, the Miss Hamilton Board of Directors takes pride in continuing in the tradition of the women who came before us and in embracing the future that lies ahead.