Clark Janell Davis, 17, of Lexington was crowned Miss Kentucky on Saturday night at the University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts.
Davis competed against 30 other hopefuls for the title, including first runner-up Claire Butler and second runner-up Hannah Estes. Butler was Miss Jefferson County, and Estes was Miss Metro Louisville.
As she was crowned, Davis was overcome with emotion. Then she was all smiles as she took photos, hugged, laughed and shook hands with family, friends and past Miss Kentucky winners.
"I am just ecstatic," she said. "The Lord has just blessed me in a tremendous way, and I cannot be happier right now."
Davis, a graduate of Lafayette High School who competed as Miss Horse Capital of the World, chose dyslexia awareness as her platform. In the talent portion of the competition, she sang Summertime.
She will compete in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J, on Sept. 13.
Davis will be a sophomore at the University of Kentucky in the fall majoring in vocal performance, with a minor in political science.
Moving forward, Davis said she plans to prepare for the big stage the same way she's always prepared.
"First, I'm going to eat some cheesecake tonight, and then tomorrow I'm totally hitting the gym," she said. "Continue to sing, and let love and joy into my life."
It was rare that the Miss Kentucky competition was held on July 4th, but it was unavoidable, organizers said, because of the Miss America pageant being scheduled for mid-September and scheduling conflicts with the Kentucky pageant's venues, the Singletary Center and the Hyatt Regency Hotel.