Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Homer City girl competing for pageant title

by EMILY WEBER on July 22, 2013 11:00 AM

A Homer City girl will compete for the title of Miss Pennsylvania Princess at the National American Miss state finals in Harrisburg next month.

Averie Budner, 5, is one of 25 girls contending for the state title on Aug. 9 and 10. She was selected as a state finalist in March after an interview with one of the pageant directors.

At the pageant, she will submit photos to be judged, complete an interview with a panel of judges and perform her talent on stage. She has decided to hula hoop, according to her mother, Racheal Budner.

“We’ve practiced our walk, our hula hoop, finding dresses and gowns and going over the list of questions,” Rachael said.

Averie will be asked, for example, about her favorite color, what she wants to be when she grows up and why she thinks she should be Pennsylvania’s princess.

To fulfill the pageant’s community service requirement, Averie donated school supplies to her elementary school and rang the bell for The Salvation Army over the holidays. Her community service counts for 10 percent of her score, and the other three portions of the competition count for 30 percent each.

Averie said she’s excited to travel to Harrisburg, accompanied by her grandmother, Lynn Elliott. Thanks to tap dance and gymnastics lessons, she said she’s not nervous about being in the spotlight.

The girl chosen to become the state titleholder will move on to nationals at Disneyland in California and receive a scholarship prize and a portfolio with a modeling company.

“It doesn’t matter if we win, though,” Racheal said. “It’s the experience. She’ll acquire skills that will be beneficial as she grows up. She’ll be personable, have confidence and good speaking skills in front of groups of people. She can carry these things with her the rest of her life.”

Racheal is helping Averie gain local sponsors. She is being sponsored by her extended family and the Fraternal Order of Police in Indiana County.

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