How many times do you get to say this: I had lunch with Miss Kentucky.
In just a few months, I may be able to say this: I had lunch with Miss America.
By the way, my wife does not approve of these messages. (Just thought some political humor would lighten the mood).
Really, my wife wouldn’t mind. She knows she’s the only Miss Kentucky that matters to me. (Insert awwww here).
But it was cool meeting with Jessica Casebolt, the 19-year-old — “I’ll be 20 in December,” she reminded — from Pikeville who has her eye on the big prize in January in Las Vegas.
She has worn the crown of Miss Kentucky since mid-July and has endured a fullcourt press of a schedule ever seen. This week she was in the area visiting area schools, talking to them about healthy eating habits and being Miss Kentucky.
My lunch meeting wasn’t just me and Miss Kentucky. I was invited to the “Lunch Bunch” meeting of Dirk Payne, Steve Gilmore, Jim Lambert and Rocky Gibbs. They eat together almost daily and solve many of the area’s issues over lunch.
Rocky called and was nice enough to let me crash their party. Rocky’s wife, Lee Gibbs, who is heavily involved in the pageant scene on the statewide level, was also at the table along with Jessica’s cousin, Callie Daniels of Vermont.
They plopped me next to Jessica so I could interview her over lunch. Let me just say, Jessica Casebolt is polished and professional. She answers questions honestly and is down to earth. She looks and acts the part of a Miss America (although her plate of food was bigger than mine).
“She’s our best chance at Miss America since Heather French,” Gibbs said. “I really believe that.”
Lee will be involved in the Miss America pageant as well, serving as Jessica’s makeup artist.
“I’ve never been to Miss America,” Gibbs said. “I can cross that off my bucket list.”
Heather French was the Miss America in 2000 and she has a connection to Casebolt as well. She has been Miss Kentucky’s mentor for several years.
French talks to Casebolt in positives such as, “When you become Miss America, this is how you do it,” Jessica said.
French designed Casebolt’s wardrobe at the state competition and will make her gown for Miss America. The current Miss Kentucky has modeled for French’s design catalog.
But more than anything else, she has prepped Casebolt for the potential of the dream-come-true experience of becoming Miss America.
Casebolt is true to her Kentucky roots and takes pride in representing her home state in the pageant, which has a lot more substance than audiences are led to believe.
It’s not all about beauty, said Casebolt.
“It’s a constant self-improvement process,” she said.
Casebolt qualified for Miss Kentucky by winning the Miss Goldenrod crown in Ashland. She defeated a field of 32 for the crown of Miss Kentucky in Lexington.
Casebolt wasn’t expected to be a top contender after not finishing among the top 13 the previous year. But she came out of nowhere and won the crown.
Since then, she has enjoyed celebrity status in the state. While attending a University of Kentucky game a few weeks ago, she used her Miss Kentucky sash as a parking pass to a VIP lot.
She also had a meeting with John Calipari, who let her put on his championship ring. They took a picture of her with Calipari and it had 7,000 hits.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, he put it on my finger!’’’ she said.
The photo of Calipari and Jessica drew even more attention than the UK coach posing with actor Charlie Sheen.
“I was kind of proud of that,” she said.
“Coach Calipari was great. He had some good advice.”
Casebolt will be part of an ABC documentary about the road to Miss America that will air prior to the pageant in January.
“Coach Calipari is a national champion and I’d like to be that, too,” she said.
Casebolt, who will also be part of this year’s Ashland Christmas Parade, said she constantly fights against the stigma of being a beauty pageant winner.
“Pageants get a bad rap for being shallow, but there’s so much to them,” she said. “It’s not just about who looks the best in a bathing suit or who has the best gown.”
As the pageant winner in Kentucky, she is sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to be a motivational speaker throughout the state. She answers to a board of directors, which does most of her scheduling and planning and provides her with a Lexus to drive for a year.
“That has been fabulous,” she said.
Jessica finished her freshman year at Georgetown College last spring but has taken the year off to give full attention to her duties as Miss Kentucky. When she returns to school, Jessica will pursue a degree in political science with the hopes of becoming a lawyer.
For now, though, she’s happy with the Miss Kentucky gig.
A young boy from Ponderosa Elementary “proposed” to Casebolt on Wednesday morning. “I told him to come and see me in 30 years,” she said.
A preschool girl pulled the crown off her head.
“I said, ‘OK, you can be the princess today.’’’
Kentucky should be proud of Jessica Casebolt, who might well be wearing that Miss America crown come January.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2648.
How many times do you get to say this: I had lunch with Miss Kentucky.
- Local News
Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit
A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.
Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom
The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
“She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.
Concrete pouring at Putnam
Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.
Unique races for Carter magistrates
Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
Of the five seats available, three magistrates are seeking re-election: Clarence “Sonny” Fankell, D-Grayson, District 2; Clifford “Sodbuster” Roe, D-Olive Hill, District 4; and Brandon Burton, R-Olive Hill, District 5.
The incumbents will each have to battle as many as three opponents in their district primaries next month before they can focus on reclaiming their magistrate titles in the November general election.
This year’s magistrate race will host a total of 22 candidates, with 11 from Grayson, nine from Olive Hill and two from Denton.
Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit
Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.
Trail Town trial run to be in Olive Hill this Sunday
Olive Hill will participate in a trial run this Saturday in the city’s push to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town.
Some area farmers may be eligible for LIP program
The Grayson Farm Service Agency, (Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence) is having registration for the Livestock Indemnity Program to eligible producers who suffered losses beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and subsequent years.
News in brief, 04/24/14
The King’s Daughters Pregancy and Infant Loss Support Group invites families who have experienced the loss of an infant during pregnancy or following birth to participate in a butterfly release and prayer ceremony at 2 p.m. May 10 at the Ashland Central Park fountain.
Garner hosting National Day of Prayer activities
The Garner Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting day long events at the Kyova Mall to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 1.
Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday
A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.
- More Local News Headlines
- Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit