Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Swimsuit pageant returning for Pomona Lake celebration

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 7/16/2014

VASSAR — The Miss and Lil’ Miss Pomona Lake Beauty Pageant is back.

For the first time since 1964 when Pomona Lake was dedicated, the pageant is set to return this weekend as one of several events marking the lake’s 50th anniversary celebration. The event, which is scheduled for noon Saturday at the Lighthouse Bay Marina, features not only a pageant for 18- to 25-year-olds, but a Lil’ Miss Pomona Lake competition for ages 18 months to three years.

VASSAR — The Miss and Lil’ Miss Pomona Lake Beauty Pageant is back.

For the first time since 1964 when Pomona Lake was dedicated, the pageant is set to return this weekend as one of several events marking the lake’s 50th anniversary celebration. The event, which is scheduled for noon Saturday at the Lighthouse Bay Marina, features not only a pageant for 18- to 25-year-olds, but a Lil’ Miss Pomona Lake competition for ages 18 months to three years.

“That is why I wanted to bring it back,” Shelley Hodgson, co-owner of the Lighthouse Bay Marina, 4009 Marina Road, Pomona State Park, Vassar, said. “With it being 50 years, I thought it would be nice to have a Miss Pomona Lake and a Lil’ Miss Pomona Lake. We’ve always been very family oriented. We are trying to bring families together and be outdoors with the kids.”

There is no cost to enter the contests, Hodgson said, and registration forms can be found on the Pomona Lake 50th Anniversary Facebook page, or at the Lighthouse Bay Marina at Pomona State Park. Those interested also can contact the Lighthouse Bay Marina for more pre-registration information at (785) 828-4777. Day-of registration will be available, Hodgson said.

The pageant is open to the public and is expected to be judged by Tobie Roberts, Miss Teen Kansas United States 2013.

“She’s actually been at a pageant all week,” Hodgson said. “I believe she’s bringing a couple other friends that do the pageants with her.”

The pageant will consist of a one-piece swimsuit-only competition for both Miss and Lil’ Miss Pomona Lake. Swimsuits revolving around a 1960s theme are encouraged, but not required to compete. The theme idea was inspired by Pomona Lake’s Sept. 5, 1964, dedication. The lake was built to control watershed runoff from more than 322-square-mile area.

Younger competitors might face a slightly different criteria than older contestants, organizers said.

“For the little ones, it is hard to ask them a question. From 18 months to three years, Lord knows what you are going to get for an answer,” Hodgson said with a laugh. “[Roberts] will ask the contestants one question. They can do a ’60s type thing, but they are not required. I don’t want this to be costly for anyone.

“I’m hoping this will be something we can continue every year from here on out. If we can build it and have a good turnout and build a bigger pageant, hopefully we can judge them on a talent (in the future as well).”

The original Miss Pomona Lake — crowned in 1964 — was Judy Mason, formerly of Osage City, Hodgson said. This year’s champions will be awarded with memorabilia fitting for a beauty pageant winner.

“The two pageant winners will each receive an actual sash that says ‘Miss and Little Miss Pomona Lake,’ and a crown,” Hodgson said. “The crowns are absolutely beautiful.”

The pageant isn’t the only thing making a splash this weekend at Pomona Lake. Nauti Water Racing is set to bring high-speed watercross racing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday to the lake.

“The way to sum this up, it is more or less NASCAR on water,” Dustin Swander, sponsor for the event, said. “These guys run 70 to 80 miles across the water. It is phenomenally awesome if you’ve never seen it. These guys are just flying with all the safety gear on.”

About 60 to 80 racers on the Nauti Water Racing circuit, from as far north as Canada to as far south as Texas, are expected to be at Pomona Lake to fly down the water on jet skis. It will be a free show, with a variety of vendors, and will take place near the Morningside Day Use area of the lake, Swander said. Though the show is free, event-goers most likely would have to pay to get through the Pomona State Park gate, he said.

“They have heats and hot laps and eliminations,” Swander said. “Saturday is elimination and Sunday is the finals. I believe there will be freestyle competitions on Saturday.

“It is a national level. It is a circuit that they race on and they race at different points. They were in Wichita at the Wichita Riverfest. Next break they come up to Lucas Oil Raceway in (Wheatland, Missouri). Some of the racers coming to this are coming from Canada, Minnesota and Texas. Its a big deal.”

So is Jeremy McComb, who will be performing a free concert for Pomona Lake’s 50th anniversary at 8 p.m. Saturday at Lighthouse Bay Marina.

“He has a new CD out and he was here last Fourth of July and puts on a great concert,” Hodgson said.

McComb has been a tour manager for the Larry The Cable Guy/Blue Collar Comedy Tour, as well as an accomplished musician. The country music singer has spent his years with major record deals and toured with the likes of Sugarland, Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry and more. His first album, “My Side Of Town,” was picked by People Magazine as “Nine Starts to Watch.” His last release, “Leap and the Net Will Appear,” was self-produced and independently released. It includes the 2012 summertime hit single “Easy As Breathin’” which was co-written by McComb and one-time Jason Mraz producer Kevin Kadish, according to a news release.

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