COPPERAS COVE — The third annual KristKindl Charity Pageant, hosted by the Copperas Cove Five Hills Royalty, was held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.

This year’s pageant was to raise autism awareness and to raise funds to purchase sensory equipment to be installed at the Copperas Cove City Park.

This pageant was coordinated by Ms. Five Hills Heidi Cortez, who chose this community service platform because she wants to inform people who don’t understand autism, and she has family afflicted by the condition.

This year’s goal is to raise the estimated $4,000 needed to purchase the equipment. Entry fees for contestants were $50 each, with a record number of 50 entrants this year, and the price of admission was $5 per person (children under 5 were granted free entrance). The Fort Hood Thrift Shop awarded a $1,000 grant toward the project, and Cortez will continue to apply for other grants to help reach her goal.

Many people were there to volunteer their time and services.

Wendy Sledd, volunteer director for Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program, was on hand as emcee

Karen Oakley, from Elite Therapy Center, handed out swag bags which included information about her organization and spread autism awareness. She reiterated that all profits will be donated to this project, and that for her, volunteering, “is not a duty, it is a treasure.”

Overall, there were eight categories of contestants, seven of them being: Baby Miss, Tiny Miss, Little Miss, Junior Miss, Pre-Teen Miss, Teen Miss, and Miss (or Ms.). This last category was held for any woman 19 and older, and ages in this category ran all the way from 19 to 64.

The eighth category was the Angel category. This was a special category of extraordinary young girls with special needs. Stetson Mae Eggleston, 12, won second runner-up; Sophie Daniels, 8, won first runner-up; and Emily Hayden, 5; was the winner.

Prizes for each winner was a custom-designed rhinestone tiara, embroidered double-satin banner, and a trophy. Runners-up received trophies, and every contestant received a custom-made participation medal.

After the rounds of picture-taking, all of the newly-crowned winners readied to ride Copperas Cove Domino’s Christmas Parade float, which took place at 3 p.m. Saturday. They will all be seen again on the same float on Saturday in downtown Killeen during Killeen’s Christmas Parade.

The full list of winners will be published in this Friday’s Copperas Cove Herald.

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