NEW TUPELO/LEE COUNTY MISS HOSPITALITY BELIEVES STATE IS FINALLY GETTING THE RECOGNITION IT DESERVES
By Terri Tabor
They say three is always a charm, but not for Tupelo/Lee County’s newly crowned Miss Hospitality Carley Hinchey.
The local hospitality pageant was the first pageant and a charm since it was the only pageant she had ever entered.
“I’ve never been in a pageant before,” the 22-year-old said and added that since this was her last year to try for the title, she had better do it.
Hinchey, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hinchey of Tupelo, says she has always wanted to enter the Tupelo/Lee Miss Hospitality pageant, especially since her career choice is in the field of public relations. “I think Miss Hospitality is the public relations spokesperson for Lee County and Tupelo,” she said. “I want to be a good news bearer of Mississippi. Right now we are a state on the move. We’re no longer in last place where we used to be in certain areas.”
Hinchey believes MSU’s trip to the Final Four, the success of Mississippi author John Grisham and the exclusive state exhibit from Russia’s Palaces of St. Petersburg in Jackson have helped the state garner attention. “People are just now beginning to notice Mississippi for the great state it is,” she said.
As a communication/public relations major at MSU, Hinchey is active in several collegiate activities and organizations. She’s currently a senator for the Student Association; membership director of Mortar Board honorary; vice president for Delta Gamma Sorority; president of Matchmates; secretary for Alumni Delegates; vice president for Cardinal Key honorary society; and a reporter for the campus newspaper, The Reflector. After graduation Hinchey plans to attend graduate school where she will obtain a master’s degree in public relations.
Hinchey competed against eight other contestants in the pageant at the Lyric Theater Saturday night. The contestants were judged in the categories of evening gown and interview. During the pageant the contestants were also asked a question on stage from their interviews. Criteria for judging included presence and composure, intelligence, public speaking, and communicating abilities and general knowledge of state tourist attractions, history and economy. As the winner, Hinchey received a $1,000 savings bond from the Tupelo Bank Association and $500 scholarship from the Tupelo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. In addition she received numerous gift certificates from local businesses.
Hinchey says when the emcee announced the winner’s contestant number she had no idea it was hers. “I was very surprised. I had forgotten my contestant number. I was standing there thinking, ‘What was my number … What was my number?'”
Now that winning has finally set in, Hinchey will now concentrate on the Mississippi Hospitality State pageant July 22-27 in Starkville. “I’m really excited about the state pageant,” she says. “I heard we get treated like queens.”