Miss SC delivers crown Saturday – in a truck

otaylor@thestate.comJuly 6, 2013 

Ali Rogers, left, the reigning Miss South Carolina, and Sydney Sill, the reigning Miss South Carolina Teen, pose in front of a moving truck sponsoring the competition at Embassy Suites during the opening day of a week of competition.

JEFF BLAKE — jblake@thestate.com

  • If you go

    Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen pageant

    Where: Township Auditorium, 1703 Taylor St.

    Preliminaries: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at The Township auditorium; 7-10 p.m. Tickets available at the Township’s box office or through Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-300 or tickmaster.com

    Miss South Carolina Gala: 7 p.m. Friday at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St.; open to the public; tickets, $50

    Finale: 7 p.m. Saturday, Township auditorium

A truck used by two men to move furniture, boxes and assorted items from address to address is, after all, still just a truck.

Naturally, a truck-driving beauty queen such as Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers would prefer to drive the truck than ride in it. So with Rogers behind the wheel of a Two Men and a Truck vehicle, she and Sydney Sill, Miss South Carolina Teen, arrived Saturday at Columbia’s Embassy Suites for the opening of the Miss South Carolina pageant week.

“When I pull up, I can just lay on the horn,” Rogers said as she applied lipstick.

“Remember to put it in park,” said Chaz Ellis, an executive administrator of the Miss South Carolina Organization.

Sill, the runner-up at last year’s pageant, who took the crown after Rachel Wyatt won Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, was excited about the truck ride — until she realized she had to hop out.

In heels and in front of cameras, some perhaps waiting to record a gaffe to add to the state’s infamous YouTube pageant playlist.

“It’s probably not going to be graceful,” said Sill, who surely used her dancing agility to gracefully exit.

The introduction ceremony was moved from the State House to the lobby of the pageant’s host hotel because of threatening weather. Of course, the rain that has tormented the Midlands for days yielded for the fair ladies. Rain or shine, more than one contestant would have to rush to her room to resuscitate curls pancaked by humidity.

At last year’s opener, reigning crown holders Bree Boyce and Caitlen Patton arrived in the back of a moving truck. Rogers and Sill topped that.

Boyce, who lost more than 100 pounds en route to the crown, made national headlines. She finished in the top 12 at Miss America. Rogers was the runner-up.

How is the pageant going to be able to top what Rogers and Wyatt did nationally?

“We’ve got to take both titles next year, so our judges have their work cut out for them,” Ashley Byrd, Miss South Carolina Scholarship Organization’s president and executive director, joked.

The organization took over the Miss S.C. franchise, which had declined in popularity, in 2011. There are 102 miss and teen contestants this year, up from 88 two years ago.

South Carolina is one of the last states on the calendar to crown each year. After next Sunday’s press conference, both winners will travel to Miss S.C.’s home office in Hartsville to prepare for national competition for “probably for two weeks straight,” Byrd said.

The paperwork for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant, which is in August, has to be turned around in 24 hours, so, yes, the teen winner will have to keep on trucking.

Ellis, director of sales and marketing for Two Men and a Truck, a Miss S.C. scholarship provider, was happy to hand truck keys to Rogers.

“I think it says a lot about who she is as Miss South Carolina,” said Ellis, who is working his 16th pageant. “There’s not a situation that she has not acclimated herself to.

“And that is why we love her.”

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