Kimberly Clayton named Miss Independence|Pageant held during Belhaven festivities

Published 5:38 am Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Editor

BELHAVEN — It became apparent that beauty runs in the Clayton family Friday evening with the naming of a new Miss Independence in Belhaven.
Kimberly Clayton was crowned as the 2009 queen by her cousin Ashley Clayton, the outgoing titleholder. Seven contestants competed in private interview, swimsuit, evening gown, onstage question/answer and an optional talent category.
The new Miss Independence is a recent graduate of Pungo Christian Academy who plans to attend Pitt Community College. She was second runner up in last year’s pageant and is a former Miss Engelhard Seafood Festival.
“Hard work pays off,” Clayton said shortly after her coronation. “All of us just came here and worked and practiced and practiced.”
The blue-eyed blonde, the 18-year-old daughter of Terry and April Clayton of Belhaven, will receive a $1,000 college scholarship as Miss Independence. She was active in PCA’s Future Farmers of America and Beta Club, and she played volleyball, basketball and softball for the Raiders. She attends Life-Gate Free Will Baptist Church and her pageant sponsor was Clayton Farms.
Other contestants in the pageant, part of Belhaven’s 67th annual July Fourth celebration, were first runner up Kayla Cerny, 18-year-old daughter of Jodi Bell and John Cerny of Pantego, sponsored by Performance Autobody; second runner up Elizabeth Harris, 16-year-old daughter of Walter and Lisa Harris of Pantego, sponsored by O’Neal Cellular; talent winner Jordan Cooke, 15-year-old daughter of Amy Waters and Michael Cookie of Pinetown, sponsored by J.A. Tankard Stables; Miss Congeniality Allison Armstrong, 15-year-old daughter of Delbert and Renee Armstrong of Ponzer, sponsored by Georgie’s Sport and Oyster Bar; Janel Robinson, 15-year-old daughter of Leroy and Terrencia Robinson of Washington, sponsored by the Robinson family; and Marcrissa Carswell, 16-year-old daughter of Bernita Shepard of Washington, sponsored by Love 2 Cook 4 U.
A standing-room-only crowd filled the auditorium of the John A. Wilkinson Center for the event. The pageant’s theme was “Turn The Beat Around!” with the contestants first appearing onstage in red, white and blue outfits. Gary Dean, local television personality and former director of the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce, served as master of ceremonies. The pageant was directed by Brandy Lee and Melissa Smith.
Judges were Tracey Baker, Lisa Goltermann and Michele Whaley, and Debra Clark served as auditor.
Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal welcomed those in attendance. Entertainment was provided by Amanda Rose, a former Miss Independence runner up and talent winner; Centerstage Dance Company; Gracie Baker, Royal Miss Princess of N.C.; Taylor Whaley; Danielle Goltermann, Overall Princess of N.C.; and Ashlie Evans, Miss Kinston’s Outstanding Teen.