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On July 14, Lincoln County resident Marie Herrington will be competing for the title of Ms. Missouri Senior America at the age of seventy-six. 

“I’ve always wanted to do the pageant, but it just seemed like the timing was never right,” Herrington said. 

She has been preparing for the pageant since October of last year. 

“I started working on my talent which is going to be a storybook of my life with a surprise at the end,” Herrington said. 

She hopes to inspire others with the telling of her life to encourage others to take opportunities that life hands them. 

“I have an eighth-grade education, I was married at fifteen and retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel at the age of sixty,” Herrington said. She hopes to help others that feel like life is passing them by and inspire others to pursue their dreams regardless of their age. 

The pageant, held at the Florissant Civic Center at 2 p.m., is open to Missouri women that are sixty or better, and have an interest in representing the state of Missouri. To qualify as a contestant, each woman interested must go through an application process and audition in February for the pageant. During the pageant contestants are judged in three main areas: modeling, talent and interview. 

The judging board is made up of six individuals that have the responsibility to select Ms. Missouri Senior America. 

Each contestant must model an evening gown while reciting her philosophy, present a talent on stage and go through a private interviewing process. From those points the winner is selected. The winner will then have the opportunity to compete at the Senior America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey in October. 

The Missouri Pageant Alumnae Club hosts the event each year and is comprised of former queens and contestants of the pageant. Each member of the Missouri Pageant Alumnae Club has to have competed at the pageant to qualify as a board member. 

One member on the board is Sharon Houston, who works on the Pageant Publicity Committee. 

Houston is a former president of the club and competed in the pageant in 2008 where she won the title of Congeniality. 

“This has been a wonderful experience because I get to see women come from all walks of life to compete on this stage,” Houston said. The club helps each of the contestants to prepare for the pageant, teaching them how to improve their modeling walk and public speaking abilities. 

“I think that it really creates a sense of accomplishment for these women as they step up on stage and do the things they do at their age,” Houston said. Outside of the pageant, the Missouri Pageant Alumnae Club frequently performs attends local senior centers, nursing homes and other venues in the St. Louis area. The club is made up of women that sing, dance and play musical instruments.  

Tickets to the pageant are $17, and may be purchased at the door or online.

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