The Miss Iowa Scholarship Pageant returns to Davenport’s Adler Theatre Thursday, Friday and Saturday, along with Miss Iowa’s Outstanding Teen Pageant.
The first Miss Iowa, Alta Sterling, was crowned in 1924, said Rachael Vopatek, director of public relations and marketing for the Miss Iowa Pageant.
In addition to being the first Miss Iowa, Vopatek said that, “Sterling has the distinction of being the first Jewish contestant to compete for Miss America.”
The pageant was next held in 1927 when Maude Mendenhall Wrigley was crowned. Then, it returned in 1933 when Eleanor Alma Dankenbring received the crown.
The pageant was held in 1935, 1936, and 1937, and then in 1939 and 1941. The years for World War II were skipped before the pageant returned in 1945. It also was held in 1946 and 1947. There was no Miss Iowa in 1948, but the pageant became a permanent staple in 1949 with the crowning of Barbara Juel and has been running strong since.
In 1970, Cheryl Brown Hollingworth, now of Lithonia, Georgia, a pretty and highly talented ballerina, became the first African-American to be crowned Miss Iowa, and became the first African-American to compete in the Miss America Pageant. She then went on to travel with the Miss American USO Troupe entertaining soldiers in Vietnam.
Miss Iowa 2017 will proceed in September to Atlantic City to compete for the Miss America 2018 crown.
This will be the 14th year for the Miss Iowa’s Outstanding Teen pageant which began in 2004 with Ashlie Burroughs of Muscatine taking the first crown.
The winner of Miss Iowa’s Outstanding Teen will compete in the national Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant in Orlando, Florida, in August.