Miss Kentucky Ann-Blair Thornton told viewers who tuned in to the 2012 Miss America pageant on Saturday night that she was "running for my roses," but it was not to be.
Thornton did not advance to the semifinals in the pageant, broadcast live on ABC from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Thornton, 22, of Bowling Green, is majoring in English and economics at Western Kentucky University. She plans to attend law school.
She won't return to Kentucky empty-handed.
On Thursday, Thornton was awarded the pageant's Quality of Life award and a $6,000 scholarship in recognition of her platform of Alzheimer's awareness and research.
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Thornton, whose grandfather had Alzheimer's, formed a support group for teens impacted by the disease and has worked to raise money for research.
She sewed the names of people with Alzheimer's whom she met as Miss Kentucky into the back of her pageant sash "as a reminder of her purpose," according to a news release from the Miss America Organization.
Thornton played the piano for the talent portion of the competition.
Thornton's mother has said that Ann-Blair began competing in pageants when she was 15.
"She's always wanted to be in pageants," Terri Thornton said after her daughter's crowning as Miss Kentucky in July, but she said she made her daughter wait until Ann-Blair was old enough to make the decision for herself.