Shamrock tradition

EMMETSBURG – Four crowns were handed out to four young women at Emmetsburg’s annual pageant Sunday afternoon.

The 51st annual Miss Shamrock Pageant, and the Junior Miss Shamrock Pageant, were held at the same time this year, giving 23 girls from as young as five all the way up to high school seniors the chance to showcase their talents.

Some of the youngest contestants were a bit nervous, but the pageant is a good way to teach confidence, said Doris Blocker as she watched her daughter rehearse.

“I think it’s a good confidence thing,” Blocker said. “Other than that, it’s just fun.”

Her daughter Jordan Blocker, 8, of Fenton, said she signed up because she thought it would be fun. But it was a lot of work too.

“I have to be able to do a somersault on the wood; I have to do a handstand on my box, and cartwheel off it,” Jordan Blocker said. Her talent was “acro” – a sort of dance and tumbling routine without the mats.

The Miss Shamrock program included four events – casual wear, formal wear, talent and an on-stage question. In between each segment, girls from the three Junior Miss categories would perform their talents.

The Junior Miss pageant includes the title of Little Miss Shamrock for girls from 5 to 8, Little Lassie for ages 9 to 12, and Irish Miss for 13 to 16.

Eight-year-old Kylie Iverson, of Emmetsburg, was feeling nervous. It was her first year in the competition.

“Her older sister has done it the last five years, and she wanted to try it,” said Iverson’s mother Renee Iverson. “I’m nervous for her.”

Kylie Iverson sang without accompaniment for her talent – a rarity at the contest. She was awarded the Little Miss Shamrock crown at the end of the day.

While the younger ones warmed up in the music room, the four older Miss Shamrock contestants waited for their turn for a pre-show interview with the judges.

That interview is one of the hardest parts, said Brittany Poeppe, 18, of Emmetsburg.

“The interview, and the onstage question,” she said. “You have to present yourself in a way that makes you look good.”

That onstage question is not required at the younger levels, so it adds a new twist, said Elizabeth Naviaux, 18, of Spirit Lake. She was Irish Miss two years ago, and competed once before that.

“I was nervous before the interview,” Naviaux said. “Now I’m just excited.”

“They were hard questions,” said Katlyn Moore, 17, of Spencer, after she came out of the interview. “I had to stop and think. They really made me look inside myself. It was really fun.”

Moore was in the running for fair queen last year, and said both experiences are helpful.

“The pageant has a lot of applications for real life,” she said.

Moore went on to win the Miss Shamrock title.

The talent portion is actually the easiest part, said Kendall Deitering, 18, of Emmetsburg, because you can rehearse it extensively.

Deitering said the hardest part is not being nervous.

“Just being comfortable with people hearing you talk. You just have to mentally prepare yourself to not freak out,” she said.