Ramirez family again
By Sondra Murphy
The Oak View Community Center and attendees looked dashing Saturday during the annual Miss Oak View Pageant of Excellence.
Layla Ramirez is living proof that persistence pays off. A three-time pageant contestant, the very poised Ramirez took home the Miss Oak View 2010 crown.
Besides the excitement of the young ladies walking down the runway, the event served to debut the new chairs purchased due to January’s “Treasure for Chairs” benefit, collaborated on by Oak View Civic Council and Oak View Recreation Commission and supported by the many community groups who regularly use the center.
Following dinner prepared by the Ojai Valley Moose Lodge, the pageant began with a dance number to “All That Jazz” by all 15 contestants, plus last year’s winners, while Meagan Rose sang two songs to entertain between competition events, as well as “The Star-Spangled Banner” after Boy Scout Troop 503 presented the colors.
The music, sound and lighting provided by Roger Phelps Sound ‘n’ Eyes helped keep the event more festive than ever, especially as each contestant walked the runway to a tune she picked herself. Tonya King brought grace and experience to the night in her role as mistress of ceremonies over the course of the evening. Raised in Fillmore, King is a former contestant of many pageants and now directs or consults with state competitions, such as the Miss Montana USA Pageant.
Judges interviewed the contestants earlier in the day and the evening competitions included the Personality on Parade event, in which each girl dressed in a style to exemplify her goals or hobbies, and the Evening Gowns and Speeches competitions.
During the speech portion, contestants spoke of their experiences visiting various residential care facilities throughout the valley. Each told stories about the people they met and the impact they felt from the meetings. Contestants also performed to the song, “The World Is a Rainbow,” using American sign language as coordinated by Jan Key.
“The pageant gives you so much confidence,” said Ramirez afterward. “The directors encourage good morals. This is the best pageant.” Last year’s winner, Amanda Ramirez, had the honor of placing the tiara on her younger sister’s head during the coronation.
Ramirez was one of three contestants for Miss Oak View 2010, while the Miss Teen and Miss Pre-Teen categories had six contestants each.
The Miss Teen Oak View winner was Beth Angelini and first runner-up was Melani Woolwine. Carley Heath was named Miss Pre-Teen Oak View winner and first runner-up was Victoria Neumann. In addition to the sash and tiara, winners received Barnes & Noble gift cards.
The 2010 court consists of Miss Oak View, Cathia Flores and Caitlin McComas; Miss Teen Oak View, Jordan Alvarez, Kiley Brunner, Karrissa O’Hearn, and Lexi Hicks; and Miss Pre-Teen Oak View, Cheyanne Lake, Mariah Hanline, Megan McGraw, and Shyanne Ordoñez. Like Layla Ramirez, many contestants enjoy the Miss Oak View Pageant enough to repeat the experience and several have indicated they plan to be involved again next year. All contestants are assimilated into community service as the Civic Council pageant “court ladies” and will help with events throughout the coming year, including the upcoming Easter egg hunt, Memorial Day parade and the awards dinner and mayoral selection in June.
“It was wonderful,” said pageant executive director Kim Armstrong. “These kids were incredible.”
All three 2009 winners, Nikki Neumann, Chyanna Trush and Amanda Ramirez, expressed appreciation for their year of reign, the latter bidding a tearful farewell to pageant competition as she moves on to continue her college career.
Port Hueneme naval escorts Anthony Morales, EO2, Matt Gallagher, BO2, Jacob Higgens, EO3, and Dustin Nicholas, EOCM, accompanied contestants to the runway. This year’s judges were Cheryl Hamilton, Jimmy Harvey, Scott Miller, Jeannie Nelson and Margaret Tonius.
The Oak View Civic Council is a traditional supporter of the pageant, as well as other service events throughout the year. The council is still working to raise enough money to supply a total of 300 new chairs for the Community Center. The council’s next big event is the Easter egg hunt at the Oak View Park and Resource Center on April 3. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Oak View Community Center, 18 Valley Road. For more information, go to oakviewca.org.