The first annual Little Miss in Moab pageant took place on Friday, Aug. 8. From left: Princess Kailee Thurman, of Moab; Princess Bailey Hansen, of Moab; Queen Avery Young, of Monticello; and Princess Alexis Morse, of Green River. [Courtesy photo]

The first annual Little Miss in Moab pageant took place on Friday evening, Aug. 8. Girls aged 5 through 13 years old from all over eastern Utah competed to be Queen. The evening concluded a week of activities designed to build friendships among contestants, pride in their community, and self-esteem within each girl, according to a press release.

The Little Miss in Moab pageant “strived to teach each young lady that it is important to feel beautiful and be beautiful, but not only on the outside.”

“Our motto for the Little Miss in Moab pageant is ‘Be-YOU-tiful,’” pageant director Geni Ainge said. “We want the girls to know that they are amazing just being them, each and every one is different, and we want to celebrate what makes them unique.”

Ainge noted that the pageant stressed the importance of growing self worth within the girls through providing community service. Each girl was encouraged to provide service individually. The girls participated in a group service project, in which they made cards by hand and delivered them to the Extended Care Unit of Moab Regional Hospital.

The girls competed in four different categories: fitness wear, talent, evening wear, and interview. Kailee Thurman, daughter of Joe and Debbie Thurman, won the title of Princess in the 5-7 year-old division. Alexis Morse, daughter of Steve and Geni Morse, won the title of Princess in the 8-10 year-old division. Bailey Hansen, daughter of Shaun and Nesha Hansen, won the title of Princess in the 11-13 year-old division. Avery Young, daughter of Brad and Shannon Young, earned the title of Little Miss in Moab Queen.

The pageant will continue next year.

“We look forward to a year full of service to our communities and helping these young ladies grow and achieve their dreams,” Ainge said.

Ainge also expressed the pageant’s thanks to the many supporters as they partook in this inaugural pageant.