By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Miss America Pageant will return to its hometown in September.
Oxford resident and Amory native Sam Haskell III, chairman of Miss America Organization’s board, said negotiations for the move began in December with a call from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“I flew to Atlantic City on the day after Christmas and started this,” Haskell said during a phone interview from Atlantic City. “Here we are six weeks later.”
The pageant began in the coastal city in 1921 to extend the summer season for tourists. It was an Atlantic City tradition for decades, but moved to Las Vegas in 2006.
During Thursday’s news conference, it also was announced that the event will be broadcast live by ABC for the next three years.
In 2006, the pageant moved from September to January, so 2005 Miss America Deidre Downs reigned for 490 days, the longest for any Miss America.
This year there will be a course correction, since the 2013 contest was held in January and the 2014 event will be in September of this year.
“Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan will reign for eight months,” Haskell said. “It will be the shortest on record.”
The quick pageant turn-around should keep New Jersey, Atlantic City and Miss America officials busy.
“It’s a very stressful thing,” Haskell said, “but we couldn’t be more excited.”