On to state

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2010 Marion County Junior Miss is ready for the state pageant on Jan. 15-16

By Stephen Lega

It's been nearly five months since Michelle Manning was crowned the 2010 Marion County Junior Miss. Next week, she gets her chance to compete in the Kentucky Junior Miss Scholarship Program.

The 2010 state competition is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 15, and Saturday, Jan. 16 at the Singletary Center for the Arts in Lexington.

Manning said she has been grateful for all the help and support she has received getting ready for the state competition.

"I never knew the community was so involved with Junior Miss," she said.

Manning has received several cards and letters and assistance from her friends over the last few months. One example of that was the coaching she has received to help her learn the fitness routine she'll be performing Friday night of the competition.

"I got some of my cheerleader friends who are good at routines to watch the video and tell me what to do," Manning said.

In addition to practicing her fitness routine, she has joined the gym to keep in shape and had two lessons a week with her "wonderful piano teacher," Trista Wheatley.

Manning said she will be performing the same talent she did in the Marion County competition, an original arrangement of songs from the musical "Chicago."

Manning will be staying with a Marion County native, Shirley Sanchez, when she leaves Sunday morning, Jan. 10, for Lexington. Manning added that several of the contestants in this year's state Junior Miss pageant have become friends on Facebook so they could get to know one another before they start their week together preparing for the competition.

And Manning has also received some advice from the 2009 Marion County Junior Miss, Suzanne Spalding, about what to take with her and how to keep her nerves under control.

"She said it was tiring," Manning said, "but so much fun."