Miss Ohio has golden memories of Miss America

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 Miss Ohio Roberta Camp, from Grove City, struts her stuff at the preliminary evening gown competition of the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas. Camp competed with 52 women from across America. Though she did not win the crown, she said the whole thing was a learning experience.

Since being crowned as Miss Ohio 2007  in June, it has been a whirlwind seven months for Grove City resident Roberta Camp.

She has endured speaking engagements all over the state, living in a house with 52 other contestants, and has been featured at the Miss America Pageant on Jan. 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"I have had an amazing time," said Camp. "It went by way too quickly and I wish I could do it all over again."

Even though she fell a bit short in her pursuit of the Miss America crown, she has great things to say about the winner, Kirsten Haglund.

"Miss Michigan won the judges over in one-on-one interviews," she said. "She’s only 19, but she’s a phenomenal speaker. I hope one day I’ll be as good of a speaker as she is."

To prepare for Miss America, all 52 delegates left on Jan. 17 to go to Las Vegas in order to get ready for the live pageant.

"From day one, we had rehearsals," Camp said. "We had them every single say we were there."

In addition to public engagements, such a luncheons and red carpet premiers, they had to cram in the preliminaries that are used to determine the new Miss America.

"The competition really started on Monday (Jan. 21) when we started our private interviews."

Camp said they each had 10 minutes with the seven judges that make up the pageant-voting panel.

She added after the interviews, they started the preliminary events (swimsuit/talent/evening wear) and the scored accrued during those events determine the winner.

"You are scored from 1-10 in all those events, but the one-on-one interviews are more important because they form an opinion on you and can favor you or score you higher."

Based on the Nielsen Ratings, it seems the public viewing audience favored the new style Miss America Pageant. Over the three airings (the original and two repeats), more then 19.2 million people watched the pageant on TLC.

"I liked the new format," said Camp. "It made it more exciting."

The new format included calling out the names of the women who were not moving on to other events, instead of the other way around.

"Everyone I talked to thought it was harsh that they did it that way," she said. "But I told them that we were able to handle it."

Camp believes being around the Miss Ohio/Miss America organizations have made her more aware of herself and her abilities to tackle new challenges. She said she would encourage other girls to get involved with the Miss America scholarship programs.

"Being around such amazing organizations and 51 other accomplished women has given me a newfound confidence," she said. "I know it’s going to sound cliché, but I’ve learned a lot about myself."

The last five months in Camp’s Miss Ohio reign has her going to Cincinnati to celebrate National Pancake Day on Feb. 12. On that day, more than 1,300 IHOP restaurants nationwide will offer guests a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes in an effort to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network.

"Last year, they raised over $650,000 for Children’s Hospitals in one day alone, and this year, they want to reach the $750,000 mark."

After her reign is complete, she hopes to finish her children’s book on the six pillars of character (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship) and get her communications degree from The Ohio State University. Since winning the Miss Ohio crown, Camp has received over $20,000 in scholarships.

"There is more to these organizations beyond pain in the feet from the shoes, pretty dresses, make-up and strutting your stuff," Camp said. "These organizations are the number one scholarship providers. I’ve been paying off all of my student loans with the scholarship money I have won."

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