Sunday marked the beginning of preliminary competition to see who will gain the title of Miss Indiana 2018 and some of Ball State’s own will be going for the crown.

Victoria Ruble, Miss Ball State University, and Kirsten Davenport, Miss Heart of Indiana are currently students at Ball State University. Samantha Robbins, Miss Southern Heartland, and Demie Shae, Miss Hoosier Heartland will be representing Ball State as alumnae. 

Getting to the Miss Indiana stage has been a long journey for some of this competitors. For Victoria Ruble, the journey meant a decade-long connection to the Miss America Organization. 

Ruble first began with the organization by competing in princess pageants, where she received the local title Miss North East’s Outstanding Teen. For others, the journey to the Miss Indiana stage has been more recent.

“I actually got involved in the Miss America Organization through Ball State,” Davenport said. “I wanted to be Miss Ball State University. Little did I know that was a preliminary pageant for Miss Indiana then for Miss America.”

While Davenport did not obtain the title of Miss Ball State during her two competitions at the university, she gained experienced in the Miss America Organization, which lead her to compete in other local title pageants. This proved beneficial because in order to compete at Miss Indiana, a participant must obtain a local title.

“The way that it works is that there is 36 local competitions, which is kind of your ticket to go to Miss Indiana,” Davenport said.  “Some of those pageants are open … Other ones, I think seventeen or fifteen, are closed like Miss Ball State, Miss Indiana University, Miss Elkhart County. So it’s based of where you live, or where you go to school.” 

Local title holders must compete in multiple areas during the pageant in order to gain the title of Miss Indiana. Each woman must have a platform to speak on while competing during interviews.

Platforms are unique and very dependent on the titleholders’ passion. Robbins created a platform built around substance abuse because of personal relationships. 

“I have actually had several family members and friends struggle with addiction,” Robbins said. “I’ve kind of seen them go through many stages of addictions throughout my lifetime … I really just want to share this message of health and being in control of your lifestyle to my peers and younger children as well to prevent substance abuse.” 

The Miss Indiana pageant has five areas of competition: a private interview worth 25 percent of the final score, talent worth 35 percent, swimsuit competition worth 10 percent, evening gown worth 15 percent and an on-stage question worth 20 percent. 

For Ruble, singing in the talent portion is special because it reminds her of her grandmother. “I would like to achieve the Talent Award in honor of my grandmother, who is currently battling an illness,” Ruble said. “She competed in pageant at my age in Vietnam and also sang for her talent. She is my role model and I would love to make her proud.” 

Preliminary competition began Wednesday, and the next Miss Indiana will be crowned Friday night.

Contact Pauleina Brunnemer with comments at pdbrunnemer@bsu.edu or on Twitter @pauleina15