Miss Mississippi 2016 contestants arrive in Vicksburg - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Miss Mississippi 2016 contestants arrive in Vicksburg

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Katie Busby - Source: WLBT Katie Busby - Source: WLBT

Forty-four women arrived in Vicksburg on Sunday morning to compete for the title of Miss Mississippi 2016.

Rehearsals began at the Vicksburg Convention Center and will continue every day, right up to the big night when the new Miss Mississippi will be crowned.

Three of the contestants who were alternates to Miss Mississippi 2015, Hannah Roberts are back - Laura Lee Lewis, Miss Dixie, Ivey Swan, Miss Leaf River Valley, and Meredith Thomas, Miss Mississippi State University. 

"It is so great to be back. I fell in love with it last year and I had to give it another shot," said Katie Busby, Miss Vicksburg. "So I'm really, really happy to be here."

Among the young women is a television meteorologist. Jessica Swindle, Miss All America City who is from Alabama and a student at Mississippi State.  Another contestant, Miss Red Carpet City, Randi Kathryn Harmon is here for her fifth and final time, and Molly May, Miss Amory, who at the age of 19 had a double mastectomy.

"Sometimes people really don't believe me, but it wasn't. It wasn't a hard decision for me, and I think that's only because I watched my mother go through it, and I kind of knew, in the back of my mind, that throughout my lifetime, I was going to have this done," said Molly May, Miss Amory. "Now I didn't think it was going to happen at 19."

Alivia Paden Roberts, Miss Tupelo has been wearing a walking boot for a month and a half. She made the Top 10 last year with dance as her talent.

"I have an extra bone in the back of my heel which causes inflammation when I use my foot in any range of motion and so in order to prevent that inflammation, I'm wearing a boot just to rest it," said Roberts, Miss Tupelo. "That way whenever I dance, it'll be fully recovered and I won't have any pain with it there."

It has been a big year for the Miss Mississippi Pageant, with Miss Mississippi 2015, Hannah Roberts, being first runner up to Miss America.

"Obviously we have big shoes to fill whoever wins the title you know of course wants to represent the state to the best of their ability," said Carol Coker, Miss University. "And with Hannah doing so well last year, there's a little bit of pressure, but ultimately you just have to focus on doing your best and being the best you can be."

The new Miss Mississippi will be crowned Saturday night.

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