Miss Buffalo Lonna McCary goes for the state title on Thursday
blog by Ben Kirst • June 13, 2012 @ 2:00pm
We have a championship drought, Buffalo! Not since Maryalice Demler brought home the hardware in 1990 has a reigning Miss Buffalo earned the title of Miss New York. Seems a little suspicious, given the fine crop of lovely and talented women we have in the Queen City.
The current Miss Buffalo crown rests on the accomplished head of Lonna McCary, a 22-year-old Dean’s List student at Hilbert College and former Buffalo Jill whose passions include rifle-shooting and law enforcement.
McCary is currently in New York City along with 21 of her fellow contestants—including Miss Western New York (Jesse Ladoue) and Miss Niagara (Desiree Wiley)—preparing for the three-day competition that begins on Thursday at Staten Island’s St. George Theatre.
So how is Miss Buffalo feeling as the big day approaches—nervous? Excited? Overwhelmed?
“I’m tired,” McCary laughed.“We’re constantly running around like crazy. There’s really no time to get nervous.”
Miss New York is selected from a pool of winners from up to 26 eligible pageants statewide. Contestants are judged in a series of competitions, including interview, swimsuit, evening gown, talent and on-stage questioning. The winner of the Miss New York competition will compete for the Miss America title in Paradise, Nevada in January. The reigning Miss New York is Kaitlin Monte of Rochester.
McCary has used her platform as Miss Buffalo to speak out against teen dating violence, and will continue her efforts if she is named Miss New York. She noted that she was involved in a verbally abusive dating relationship in her teenage years, and wants to prevent other young people from suffering what she went through—and worse.
“I’ve been really happy to have the opportunity to talk with kids at schools and even churches about the dangers of teen dating violence,” she said. “People don’t talk about it. Eighty-four percent of parents either don’t talk about it, and in some cases, don’t even know what it is…Bullying is a huge issue, and it’s widely talked about. But some girls and guys—they’re actually dating their bullies.”
Will McCary bring home the Miss New York crown? She was hesitant to speculate, but did admit that she would have “...a little heart palpitation on stage” if her name is called. McCray will compete in the evening gown and swimsuit competition on Thursday and the talent (she’s going to sing “Preacher’s Son”) and onstage question segments will be held on Friday. If she is among the top 10 finalists, she will continue to Saturday and this gun-slinging Silver Creek native will shoot for her spot in Nevada.
McCary understands that the competition will be stiff.
“Every girl is so different,” she said. “No one here is cookie-cutter. Everyone has their own talent, everyone has their own differences.”
Want to help push McCary into the top 10? The Miss People’s Choice Finalist will be elevated into that elite group via online voting at http://www.missny.org/vote/index.html. Online voting ends at 11:59 p.m. on Friday.