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Miss Florida Named in St. Pete

After a week of community events, preliminaries and a whirlwind of rehearsals, 43 finalists competed for the crown on Saturday night.

 took home the crown at the Miss Florida Pageant Saturday evening at the .

McKeeman is a familiar face in the area, as a sportscaster for Fox.

This year’s pageant handed out more than $50,000 in cash scholarships to the competitors, which came to almost $20,000 more than last year. The 43 hopefuls traveled from every corner of the sunshine state.

It takes more than showing up to capture the crown, according to the pageant’s Executive Director, Mary Sullivan. In a letter to the public, Sullivan wrote, “The price of success is dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things we want to see happen.”

Contestants competed in three categories: talent, swimwear and formal.

The initial round cut the number of finalists from 43 to 11, which included: Alexa Schmidt (Miss University of Central Florida), Janae Deleon (Miss Boca Raton), Ashley Ramsey (Miss Tampa Bay), Olivia Stacey (Miss Tampa), Chloe Lupo (Miss St. Petersburg), Jillian Tapper (Miss Florida State University), Kalen Dennis (Miss North Florida), Jerusha Cavazos (Miss South Florida), Meagan Cartaya (Miss Homestead), Victoria Williams (Miss Pasco County Fair) and Laura McKeeman (Miss Pinellas County).

From the remaining 11, the final five were: Alexa Schmidt, Chloe Lupo, Jilliam Tapper, Kalen Dennis and McKeeman.

As the awards were announced, one by one, the finalists could barely hold back their excitement.

Lupo received the fourth runner up distinction, followed by Tapper in fourth place. Dennis received third place. The runners-up contestants, Schmidt and McKeeman, held hands before the winner was announced.

Schmidt received the first runner up award, while McKeeman took home the highest honor and a $16,500 scholarship.

Along with her new title as Miss Florida, McKeeman will head out to Vegas in 2013 for the Miss America pageant as she represents the state of Florida.

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