Spates to compete for Miss Alabama

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 10, 2000

She glides across the room with her head held high, greeting friends and family who supported her while she competed for the title of Miss Alabama.

Haley Spates, Miss Camellia 1999, will travel to Birmingham Sunday to compete for the title of Miss Alabama, which if won, will allow her to travel to Atlantic City to compete in the Miss America pageant, which is the largest scholarship program for young women today.

On Tuesday night, family, friends and sponsors watched as Spates modeled her outfits and practiced her talent at Southside Baptist Church, allowing her to rehearse before an audience before the time comes.

The audience complimented her from their seats as she showed off six outfits she would where throughout the three-day contest in the order in which she would appear in them.

All of the 50 Alabama young ladies are split up into groups with each group participating in a different contest each day. On Wednesday, Spates will participate in the interview portion, while on Thursday she will participate in the swimsuit competition. On Friday, she will finish with her talent, in which she will sing "How Great Thou Art."

The theme is "We Would Like to Interrupt this Broadcast," featuring acts that will take the Miss Alabama pageant audience through the millennium, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the pageant.

Spates, 21,

said she is pleased to be able to participate in the Miss Alabama pageant, even if she wins or not.

"It will be fine with me if I can't be Miss Alabama. I'm just as proud of being Miss Camellia because all of you treated me as if I were Miss Alabama," she told the audience.

Originally from Harpersville, Ala., near Birmingham, Spates was able to participate in the first annual Miss Camellia pageant at the Ritz last summer because the pageant is considered an open preliminary, allowing anyone from the state of Alabama to compete.

Each contestant is required to have a platform. Spates' platform is a character and education program for children called "Bees," which she worked hard to prepare.

Spates, a senior at Samford University in Birmingham, said one of the many things she enjoys about competing is the opportunities she is given, as well as the scholarship money that helps her pay tuition. When she is not competing, Spates enjoys being involved with her church and singing and spending time with her family.

Wendy McDougal, director of the Miss Camellia pageant and Miss Alabama 1991, said 15 contestants competed in last year's pageant, making the first year a success.

"We decided that this part of the state needed a preliminary opportunity for the Miss Alabama pageant," McDougal said. "Haley is just so prepared for this, and she's so prepared even in her heart."

The Miss Camellia Pageant 2000, sponsored by L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital, Terminix, Touchstone and Whitney National Bank, will be held July 22 at 7 p.m. at the Ritz Theatre. For information, contact Wendy McDougal at 382-0854.