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GALLERY: Meet your new Ms. Senior Golden Years Queen

This past Saturday, the six sensational ladies competing in the 2024 Ms. Senior Golden Years Pageant took to the stage for an evening of poise, elegance and entertainment, all culminating in the crowning of the newest Ms. Senior Golden Years Queen, Debbie Forrest.

Taking place inside the Saddle West Showroom, the MSGY Pageant kicked off at 7 p.m. with a welcome from master of ceremonies Stephani Elliott. Pageant contestants included Forrest, as well as Maria Trzcinski, Teresa Ochoa, Peggy Sue Fletcher, Laura Horn and Star Stewart.

“This year’s pageant theme is ‘Dream the Impossible Dream’ and tonight, we will experience a fascinating journey of ambition, purpose and courage,” Elliott told the packed crowd. “First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt truly embraces our theme with the following quote: ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Honoring the memory of MSGY Queen 2004 Mitzi Sears, the pageant featured a variety of guest performances, including from 2023 MSGY Queen Althea P. Jones, 2022 MSGY First Runner-up Shirley Molenda, 2023 MSGY Second Runner-up Marjorie Washington-Nears, 2018 MSGY Second Runner-up Mary McRory, past MSGY Pageant contestant Saundra Fisher, John Michael Ferrari and the Nevada Silver Tappers.

But the main focus of the night was, of course, the contestants themselves, with pageant categories that included talent, evening gown and what is believed to be the only senior pageant swimsuit competition, fondly referred to as “Bathing Beauties”. There was also a fourth category of competition, that of the interview/platform, which was conducted privately between the judges and each contestant.

Taking on the difficult task of scoring the pageant and determining the ultimate winner were three judges, Margo Young, Nathan Tannenbaum and Bruce Jabbour. Young comes with a long history in the entertainment industry and was crowned as Ms. Senior Nevada 2009. Tannenbaum is a well-known television and radio personality who anchors 8NewsNow’s Good Day Traffic Reports, forecasts weather on various newscasts and hosts several shows on Vegas PBS. Jabbour is a Nye County commissioner and has extensive experience in the hospitality industry.

After all was said and done, the judges’ scores were tallied and Forrest was selected as this year’s queen. Taking home Second Runner-up was Horn, while Stewart nabbed the First Runner-up title. Trzcinski was picked by her fellow contestants as this year’s Ms. Congeniality.

The MSGY Pageant also presents the opportunity for the organization to bestow a special award upon a community member who has shown personal courage, bravery and dedication to the community, the Sally LaRocca Award. Named for a former MSGY Pageant contestant who competed at the age of 90, the Sally LaRocca Award was presented by MSGY founder and matriarch, B.J. Hetrick-Irwin.

“The minute I mention her name, you’re all going to know her, because she has worked for children and a better life here in Pahrump, she has done so much in this community and she’s also become a star. I want to bring up our Judge Kim Wanker!” Hetrick-Irwin announced with evident enthusiasm Saturday night.

“Thank you very much. I am very, very surprised and grateful,” a humbled Wanker said.

With the 2024 pageant now concluded, Forrest will be representing the MSGY organization over the next 12 months while simultaneously pursuing her personal platform.

“My platform is the Pahrump Senior Center and Meals on Wheels,” Forrest explained. “We have a large retirement community in Pahrump. Many of our seniors have only Social Security to live on. With inflation on the rise, many of them turn to the Senior Center for transportation, meals and socialization. The Senior Center provides meals to our homebound seniors through the Meals on Wheels program. They are a nonprofit organization that operates by relying on donations and grants… Our seniors need this facility. Let’s keep it running!”

For more information on the MSGY organization contact Hetrick-Irwin at 775-727-7011.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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