A Miss America Primer

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kirsten haglund 247x300On Saturday, January 24th, the 84th annual Miss America pageant will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. It will be broadcast on TLC for those interested.

The pageant is a long-standing competition which awards scholarships to young women from the fifty states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All the women complete an interview, plus battle in swimsuit, evening gown, and talent competitions. The overall winner is crowned “Miss America” until the next year. The 2008 Miss America, Kirsten Haglund, is pictured to the right. Who will she cede her crown to?

To give you all a preview of what to expect, here are all 52 candidates, complete with a head shot and a swimsuit photo. You can pick out your favorites, and see if you can predict who will take home the crown:

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Miss Alabama

Amanda Tapley
Birmingham, Alabama
Age: 20

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Miss Alaska

Stephany Jeffers
Anchorage, Alaska
Age: 23

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Miss Arizona

Erin Brittany
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Age: 23

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Miss Arkansas

Ashlen Batson
Newark, Arkansas
Age: 21

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Miss California

Jackie Geist
Vacaville, California
Age: 22

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Miss Colorado

Jamie Dukehart-Conti
Arvada, Colorado
Age: 23

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Miss Connecticut

Ashley Christina Glenn
Hamden, Connecticut
Age: 23

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Miss Delaware

Galen Giaccone
Wyoming, Delaware
Age: 20

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Miss District of Columbia

Kate Marie Grinold
Washington, District of Columbia
Age: 23

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Miss Florida

Sierra Minott
Fort Myers, Florida
Age: 20

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Miss Georgia

Chasity Hardman
Columbus, Georgia
Age: 24

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Miss Hawaii

Nicole Fox
Honolulu, Hawaii
Age: 23

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Miss Idaho

Elise Davis
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Age: 20

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Miss Illinois

Katie Lorenz
Chicago, Illinois
Age: 24

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Miss Indiana

Katie R. Stam
Seymour, Indiana
Age: 22

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Miss Iowa

Olivia Myers
Sperry, Iowa
Age: 22

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Miss Kansas

Emily Deaver
Augusta, Kansas
Age: 19

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Miss Kentucky

Emily Ann Cox
Campbellsville, Kentucky
Age: 22

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Miss Louisiana

Blair Abene
Hammond, Louisiana
Age: 22

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Miss Maine

Adrienne Leigh Watkinson
Topsham, Maine
Age: 23

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Miss Maryland

Louise Schlegel
Silver Spring, Maryland
Age: 20

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Miss Massachusetts

Alicia Zitka
West Springfield, Massachusetts
Age: 22

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Miss Michigan

Ashlee Baracy
Westland, Michigan
Age: 23

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Miss Minnesota

Angela McDermott
Austin, Minnesota
Age: 24

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Miss Mississippi

Christine Kozlowski
D’lberville, Mississippi
Age: 19

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Miss Missouri

Lacey Fitzgerald
Richmond, Missouri
Age: 24

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Miss Montana

Jennifer Lynn Hepner
Great Falls, Montana
Age: 23

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Miss Nebraska

Gretchen Bergquist
Oxford, Nebraska
Age: 22

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Miss Nevada

Julianna Erdesz
Reno, Nevada
Age: 24

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Miss New Hampshire

Natalie C. Shaw
Manchester, New Hampshire
Age: 23

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Miss New Jersey

Ashley Fairfield
Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey
Age: 22

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Miss New Mexico

Christina Olmi
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Age: 24

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Miss New York

Leigh-Taylor Smith
New York City, New York
Age: 22

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Miss North Carolina

Amanda Lauren Watson
Raleigh, North Carolina
Age: 21

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Miss North Dakota

Tessie Jones
West Fargo, North Dakota
Age: 21

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Miss Ohio

Karissa Renee’ Martin
Woodsfield, Ohio
Age: 20

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Miss Oklahoma

Kelsey Cartwright
Collinsville, Oklahoma
Age: 21

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Miss Oregon

Danijela Krstic
Beaverton, Oregon
Age: 24

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Miss Pennsylvania

Kendria Perry
Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Age: 23

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Miss Rhode Island

Francesca Simone
North Smithfield, Rhode Island
Age: 22

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Miss South Carolina

Anna Perry
Florence, South Carolina
Age: 23

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Miss South Dakota

Alexandra Hoffman
Eureka, South Dakota
Age: 20

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Miss Tennessee

Ellen Carrington
Jackson, Tennessee
Age: 21

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Miss Texas

Rebecca Robinson
Buffalo, Texas
Age: 24

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Miss Utah

Kayla Barclay
Manti, Utah
Age: 18

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Miss Vermont

Ashley Ruth Wheeler
Lyndon, Vermont
Age: 21

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Miss Virgin Islands

Shamika K. Thomas
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Age: 23

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Miss Virginia

Tara Wheeler
Woodbridge, Virginia
Age: 24

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Miss Washington

Janet Harding
Yelm, Washington
Age: 21

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Miss West Virginia

Kayla Lynam
Short Gap, West Virginia
Age: 21

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Miss Wisconsin

Briana Lipor
Racine, Wisconsin
Age: 22

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Miss Wyoming

Courtney Gifford
Sheridan, Wyoming
Age: 19

If you want to see who these women beat to get here, this site is a pretty impressive run down of each state pageant with photos of the runners-up.