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My how the Miss Georgia Pageant has changed

It's difficult for some of my friends to believe that I got involved in the Miss Georgia Pageant.

But it was just to help out a friend. About 20 years ago, Oz Roberts became the director/producer of the pageant.

He was struggling with the script. So offered to help him write it.

I helped him out year after year. Well, probably about five years. Then he got the hang of it and didn't need me.

Back in those days, the contestants had to fill out these forms. The forms had their weight and height, dress and shoe sizes and their grade point average. It was in the day when Miss America was becoming less relevant and the organizers wanted to promote the pageant as one for smart women who happened to be pretty and had a talent and wanted to earn scholarship money.

One night after a rehearsal, Tom McCafferty, who was at the time one of Oz's roommates, and I went to dinner with Oz. He actually let us see the big huge file holder with the contestants' information.

At one point, Tom and I started laughing. Oz wanted to know why we were laughing and we said this is a scholarship pageant, right? Then why did this contestant have a 1.3 GPA? How on earth did she get by the host pageant with that?

Oz took away the folder and never let us see it again.

Today's form has the contestant's name, title, talent and platform.

And each has to write an essay telling the judges why their platform is important to her.

It also made the move from the Three Arts Theater to the Bill Heard Theatre in RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. Everyone, and I mean everyone is so happy with the Heard Theatre.

Production values have changed. It's so much better. The Bill Heard stage is bigger than the Three Arts, so the sets are amazing and the lights are even better. That's due to another one of my friends, Bill Rich, the CEO of RSL Theatrical.

The pageant itself hasn't changed much. The women compete in swimwear, evening wear and talent. The only new segment is the onstage interview.

So there are some dumb answers, bad talent and some not so fashionable gowns.

But then there are some smart answers, really good talent and beautiful gowns.

And one thing hasn't changed. There hasn't been a Miss Columbus to become Miss Georgia in many, many years. I think the last one is Samantha Mohr in 1985.

Well, let's hope Miss Columbus Malone Galster does well this week.

I'll be posting stories Wednesday through the finals Saturday night. I'll be tweeting, too. So check out our website throughout the week.

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