by Richard Lamb–Advance Editor
For the second time in the pageant’s history, the local queen’s scholarship program is returning to the Rogers Theater. The Miss Nautical Coast pageant, formerly the Nautical Queen’s pageant, is set for Friday, July 28. Reigning queen, Elizabeth Romel, will have the honor of crowning her successor on the stage of the theater.
Romel, the daughter of Ariane and John Romel of Posen, has enjoyed her time representing the area, attending many events in the county and beyond.
“My heart has been overflowing with love, appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has been a part of my reign. Presque Isle County, it has truly been a privilege representing you as your Miss Nautical Coast 2022,” Romel said.
Traditionally held at Rogers City High School (RCHS), the pageant went through some changes by inviting all girls in the entire county of eligible age to enter and a name change in the past few years. Hentkowski Funeral Home hosted the event the past two years that did not include a talent portion. This year on the big stage the talent competition returns along with a new event called the fashion walk. The candidates will have the opportunity to show off their own style with outfits of their own choosing.
Four candidates for the title of Miss Nautical Coast 2023 will show their talents along with one candidate for the teen miss title.
Candidate number one is Sophia Mina, the daughter of Alvin and Eleanor Mina of Rogers City. Sophia will be a senior at RCHS and plans to pursue a career in optometry once she graduates from high school.
She is a member of the National Honor Society, is class secretary and team captain of the knowledge bowl team. Sophia also is in the jazz band, honors band and plays on the varsity volleyball team.
“To me becoming Miss Nautical Coast would give me a chance to be a leader to my peers, represent the community I love and learn more skills as I approach adulthood,” Sophia said.
For her talent presentation she will play a flute solo to “Spanish Dance.”
Callie Rhode, the daughter of Ashley Rhode and Jess Halleck is candidate number two. She will be a senior at RCHS in the fall and plans to attend college to become a nurse in the mental health field.
She has been named student of the month and earned honors for her accomplishments as a member of the RCHS varsity softball team.
“I would love to represent the amazing community I come from. Being about to give back to the people who help keep our community sustained and to give our future generation of women a positive role model,” Callie said.
For her talent presentation she will perform a contemporary dance to “Girl on Fire.”
Candidate number three is Morgan Bruning, the daughter of Kyle and Mindy Bruning. She is a 2023 graduate of RCHS who will attend NUVO College of Cosmetology in the fall.
She has been a member of the National Honor Society, been named Optimist Student of the Month and earned the Outstanding Community Service award.
“I seek the title of Miss Nautical Coast to help make our community grow together and be more involved. I want to make a difference by bringing more people together and enjoy the community we live in,” Morgan said.
She will perform a cheerleading routine for her talent presentation.
Sofya Hincka, the daughter of Eric and Tammy Hincka, is candidate number four. She will be a senior at Posen High School in the fall and plans to attend Alpena Community College after high school.
Sofya is in her 13th year at the 4D Second Street Dance Company and participates in high school basketball, track and field and Pep Club.
“I feel I would be a good role model for the younger girls and I am excited to promote our beautiful Nautical Coast. I would also seek the opportunity to support teenagers for being their unique selves and not be pressured by all the social influences in the world,” Sofya said.
She will perform a lyrical signing and ribbon dance to “Here Comes the Sun.”
Peyton Gohl is the only candidate for the teen miss title. She is a resident of Presque Isle and a student at Alpena High School.
She is the daughter of William and Shellie Gohl with plans to attend the University of Michigan after high school graduation.
She will perform a lyrical dance to “Medicine.”
Missy Bannon, Nicole Bannasch and MiKaela Bannon are the directors of the pageant and MiKaela Bannon will again serve as mistress of ceremonies for the event and will choreograph the parade of candidates to open the event.
The candidates will be judged on an interview, artwork, fashion runway, talent, evening gown and onstage conversation. The new Miss Nautical Coast stands to win at least $2,000 in scholarship money plus gifts offered by local merchants that she will share with the other contestants.
The theater hosted the 2008 event that featured four contestants for the title of Miss Rogers City won by Jordyn Lamb, who was entering her junior year at RCHS at the time.
Tickets are available at the Advance office, Elite Salon and from the candidates.
Sponsors for theater rental expense and printed programs are Presque Isle Electric & Gas, Huron State Bank, E.H. Tulgestka and Sons, Inc. and Cadillac Products Automotive Company.
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(Pageant portraits by Richard Lamb)