Eight vying for crown

May 14, 2003 12:00 am

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

This year's Miss Calaveras contest will feature more than the eight young women competing to wear the honorary tiara.

Of the 57 women who have been crowned Miss Calaveras since the first pageant in 1937, 54 are still alive and up to 40 of them could be at Thursday night's contest.

Shortly after the pageant starts at 8:30 p.m. on opening night of the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, the past winners will gather on the stage for a special ceremony.

The women will walk in order from most recent winner — last year it was Heather Hjelmervik — to the most distant.

Pageant coordinator Kathy Mazzaferro said she expects the 1947 winner Jean Gurney Apley to attend.

"They're all so excited about coming back," said Mazzaferro, who has been tracking down past winners for two years. "This has meant as much to them as it has to me."

"To have them all come back has just been a wonderful experience," Mazzaferro said.

The winner of this year's pageant will get a $600 college scholarship.

Contestants will be judged in sportswear, talent and evening gown competitions.

For most of the girls, Mazzaferro said winning the Miss Calaveras title was a childhood dream.

"They want to go after that dream of snagging the tiara," she said.