When Jenna Day was crowned Miss Kentucky 2013 on Saturday night, she achieved a goal that she has pursued for years.
The three-day pageant ended Saturday night at the University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts.
"It's been a dream since I was a little kid," said Day, 21, from Louisville, a University of Kentucky student.
Her family has shared the dream: "Oh, my gosh, yes," Day said moments after emerging No. 1 among 32 contestants from communities throughout the state. "My mom competed, my sister competed, my aunt competed. So it's like a genetic malfunction. My mind is blown. It's very surreal right now."
Jenna's mother, Leslie Day, who was Miss Louisville 1980, said she was proud of her daughter.
"She's so good," said the mother. "I know she will do good for Kentucky."
Jenna Day will have a full-time job with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for a year, representing the department at various events across the state.
She said she also will be advocating for improving the lives of special-needs children.
For winning the pageant, Day will receive a $12,000 scholarship, a new Lexus and entry into the Miss America pageant Sept. 15 in Atlantic City, N.J. It will be broadcast live on ABC.
"It's time we had a second Miss America," she said. Heather Renee French Henry of Maysville won the Miss America 2000 title and was an emcee at Saturday night's pageant.
The field Saturday night was narrowed from 32 to 13 as the contestants participated in a swimsuit competition, a talent show and an evening gown session. The number then was reduced to five, who went through a brief question-and-answer session.
The first runner-up was Kiley Brennan Shuffett, Miss Cumberland Falls; the second runner-up was April Reinle, Miss Jefferson County; the third runner-up was Laura Jones, Miss Appalachia Area; and the fourth runner-up was Alison Lovely, Miss Magoffin County.
Day, who competed as Miss Berea Area, a graduate of Louisville Male High School, is pursuing a double major in vocal performance and political science. She sang And This is My Beloved in the pageant's talent competition. She listed Disney World as her favorite place to visit, and lima beans as her favorite food.
The non-profit program, which awards more than $40,000 in scholarships, has been in existence since 1935.
Jack Brammer: (859) 231-1302. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com