Jo Dee Van Stavern was crowned the 2014 Ms. Senior Nye County during pageant festivities at the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Casino Saturday by 2013 queen Sharon D’Alessio.
Van Stavern was first runner-up during the 2012 Ms. Senior Nye County pageant. She came to Pahrump in 1991, but spent some time in Florida. Van Stavern owned and operated three beauty salons and today operates a beauty salon part-time. She is also a volunteer for the Moose Lodge and puts on shows by the dance group the Nye County Starlets at facilities like the Pahrump Health and Rehabilitation center. She became a licensed aesthetician at age 60 and is a permanent makeup specialist.
Van Stavern won the talent competition singing her rendition of Kris Kristofferson’s country ballad, “Help Me Make It Through The Night.”
The first runner-up was Dot Ahrens, who worked for Delta Airlines in Atlanta, today she is retired and sells Mary Kay Cosmetics. Beverly Turney was second runner-up, who competed in the 2010 and 2011 pageants. Ahrens was selected Miss Congeniality by the fellow contestants.
“All the girls are great, they all have talent, they all have their own individual, inner beauty like I said in my speech. It’s not a beauty pageant it’s about what’s inside, what can you do for the town. I’d be happy to represent Nye County,” Van Stavern said after the end of the pageant and her ceremonial victory walk.
D’Alessio’s platform was to help the animal population, she has been a spokesman for West Star Animal Shelter. Van Stavern also wants to help animals, she has a goal to pursue low-cost neuter and spaying for animals.
“I notice that people tend to judge a book by its cover. I would like to see us encourage people to look past sex, size, race, wealth and wardrobe and look for the inner beauty in everyone,” Van Stavern said, reciting her platform during her evening gown walk.
Master of ceremonies Teri Rogers, the 2011 Ms. Senior Nye County, said the pageant exemplifies ladies who have reached the age of elegance with maturity and inner beauty. The Ms. Senior America Pageant philosophy is based on the belief that seniors are the foundation of America and our most valuable treasure. Rogers encouraged more senior women to get out of the box and do things and encouraged the younger generation to listen to their advice.
“It’s about being role models for seniors and it’s never too late to go out and try something new,” Rogers said.
The winner advances to the Ms. Senior Nevada Pageant Aug. 20 at the South Point Hotel and Casino. Ms. Senior Nevada Kat Ray sang a few tunes as part of the entertainment including “God Bless America” to open the event, “For Once in My Life,” and “The Way You Wear Your Hat.” Mike Zaman sang “The Dance” and other favorites. The Desert Spurs from Mesquite put on dance numbers accompanied by tambourines.
Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce President Mike Dreyer was given a ceremonial sash to start off the pageant. The Ms. Senior Nye County winners participate in numerous chamber ribbon cuttings throughout the year.
In her farewell speech, D’Alessio said she has many happy memories of her term, participating in local parades, meeting the people of Nye County face to face, dancing with the Nye County Starlets and most of all, the trip to the governor’s mansion over Nevada Day and competing in the Ms. Senior Nevada Pageant.
The judges included: Kimberly Rene, a dancer for Siegfried and Roy, an illusion assistant for magician Rick Thomas, who also performed dance at the Sand Castle Dinner Theater; Deborah Morrison a professional costume designer for shows in places from Myrtle Beach, S.C. to Harbin, China who worked for Liberace, Suzanne Sommers, Donny and Marie Osmond, including the Spellbound World Tour; Jean Watkins founder of the Ms. Senior Mesquite Pageant who founded the Mesquite Showgirls; Pahrump Town Board member Bill Dolan, a disabled American veteran, third vice-president of the Nevada League of Cities, the town legislative liaison to the Nevada Legislature and recently appointee to the governor’s veteran Green Zone Committee; Geni Barton, who worked in corporate management in banking, medical manufacturing and hospital administration, who recruited and coached contestants in the Ms. Senior Mesquite Pageant.