Miss North Carolina Teen Melissa Lingafelt won first runner-up in last night's Miss Teen USA Pageant.
Raevan Valadez, Miss Texas Teen USA; Melissa Lingafelt, Miss North Carolina Teen USA; Candace Kuykendall, Miss New York Teen USA; and Peyton McCormick, Miss Ohio Teen USA, from left, perform during the opening number of the Miss Teen USA competition in Palm Springs, Calif., on Tuesday.
Concord's Melissa Lingafelt came within a breath of winning the Miss Teen USA title Tuesday night, coming in second to Miss Montana.
A 16-year-old home schooled 11th grader, Lingafelt proved an early favorite with audiences, when she was voted Most Photogenic by visitors to NBC's Web site.
She reportedly made a big impression on pageant officials earlier in the day when she broke records by earning $5,100 for the pageant's official charity, Angel View Crippled Children's Foundation.
Lingafelt said prior to the pageant that her sense of humor was one of her strengths.
"I have an odd sense of humor and I make people laugh by laughing at myself," she said.
"I'm the kind of person that will try to make everyone laugh if the stage collapses." [...]
Contestants are required to bring an item representing their state to the auction. Lingafelt brought a NASCAR helmet autographed by 43 drivers at this year's Coca-Cola 600. Lingafelt advertised the item on eBay, a first for a contestant in the pageant.
So first runner-up was Lingafelt, followed by second runner-up Katie Marie Cooper of North Dakota. Samantha Casey of Virginia was the third runner-up, while Brittany Sharp of Georgia placed fourth. Blair succeeds Miss Teen USA 2005, Allie LaForce of Ohio. Winnings include a scholarship to New York School of Film and Television, a year of living in Trump Tower, a wardrobe and a Mikimoto tiara. [The Charlotte Observer, Aug. 16, 2006]