S.C. Sweet Potato queens preparing for Miss South Carolina Pageant

The Township Auditorium stage in Columbia will play host to the Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen pageants from June 22-27 and Darlington will once again have representatives to grace the stage.

Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival Caitlan Walzer and Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival Teen Payton Lang will hit the stage with hopes of bringing home the state’s most coveted crowns.

According to Columbia television station WACH FOX 57 (anchor station) the Miss South Carolina pageant will be televised live locally beginning at 8 p.m. on July 27 on WWMB CW 21, Time Warner Cable channel 6. The finals for the Miss South Carolina Teen pageant will be held on July 26 and will be available via the internet at www.miss-sc.org. All preliminary competitions can also be viewed at www.miss-sc.org.

Both young ladies will compete in preliminary competitions from June 23-27, which include interview, swimsuit (Miss) physical fitness (Teen), talent, evening gown and on-stage question. 65 teen contestants and 55 miss contestants will compete this year.

Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival Caitlan Walzer

Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival Caitlan Walzer

Walzer said she her year as Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival has been special.

“It’s an honor, a joy, and most of all a privilege to be your representative for this years Miss South Carolina pageant,” Walzer said. “ I cannot wait to walk across the stage and compete with 54 other women for the prestigious title of Miss South Carolina.”

Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival Teen Payton Lang

Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival Teen Payton Lang

Lang agreed and said her year has been just as special.

“Being Miss SC Sweet Potato Festival Teen has meant the world to me and has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” Lang said. “ During the past nine months I have had the opportunity to grow as I have taken on all of the challenges the MAO (Miss America Organization) has presented to me and I have been able to embrace these experiences in every aspect of my life.”

This year the two young women have worked extremely hard traveling the Palmetto state not only promoting the festival but also their platforms. Walzer’s platform is “Just Wait Prevent Teen Pregnancy” while Lang’s is “Accelerate Change; Be an Upstander.”

They did all of this while both being full time students, Walzer, a rising sophomore at Winthrop University and Lang, a rising sophomore at River Bluff High School in Lexington.

Both have also used their extra time to prepare for their various competitions at Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen.

Lang said she looks most forward to performing her talent which will be a musical theater dance.

Walzer will present a piano performance for her talent.

This will be Walzer’s fifth trip to the Miss South Carolina stage as she competed three times in the teen division and entering her second year in the miss division.

She said that being involved with the system so long has its advantages.

“Being involved in such a supportive system has helped to strengthen the talent and qualities that I already possess,” Walzer said. “ As well as gaining confidence in the areas that I need growth in. The Miss South Carolina and Miss America Organization leaves a change in women and I have seen a growth in myself to become a better woman. I am forever grateful to this organization for shaping me into the woman that I am today and into the woman that I am becoming.”

Lang, a first time competitor in the system said the experience this year has taught her so much about herself.

“The Miss SC/MAO has given me incentives, opportunities and challenges to serve others while learning life lessons that have helped me and will help me in the future to grow as a person and a leader,” Lang said. “ Servant leadership has taught me to listen, watch and learn so that I can develop a vision and understanding of what people want and need to move forward. I have tried to embrace each opportunity as a challenge to become a better person by setting goals, persevering and making sacrifices.”

Both ladies said this experience would not have been made possible without the Darlington Pilot Club and Ms. Ruth Flowers and Mrs. Belinda Copeland and their many sponsors and supporters.

“I would not be able to compete or have the amount of courage that I do without thanking my amazing sponsors,” Walzer said. “To the Pilot Club of Darlington I would like to give you a sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart. You ladies have shown me an overwhelming amount of support and love. Thank you so much to the businesses that are sponsoring for the pageant, I hope to make you all proud.”

Lang also shared the same sentiments.

“I would like to thank the Pilot Club of Darlington for sponsoring the pageant and supporting me throughout this entire journey,” Lang said. “Thank you Ms. Ruth for unwavering confidence in me and being an example of what it means to work hard. Thank you to the City of Darlington for embracing me and to Mayor Watkins for always making me feel special. I would also like to say thank you to Darlington Raceway and Palmetto Office Furniture for sponsoring me as well.”

Lang also wanted to thank many others who have helped her on her journey.

“To the best Local Pageant Director Will Isgett I would like to send a heartfelt thank you for always being there for me,” Lang said. “Your guidance, support and faith in me have been the light at the end of the tunnel daily and your words of encouragement and love have been unwavering. Your friendship is a true gift to me. To Caitlin Walzer (my sister queen) thank you and I love you! You and your mom have been there every step of the way and I could not have done it without you. Murphy Lee (Miss Falcon) thank you for making me feel comfortable and always greeting me with a smile. Without my mom, Drew (my step-dad) and my grandparents none of this would have been possible. Thank you for letting me and helping me chase this dream.”

Author: Jana Pye

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