Four win crowns at Miss Stanly County pageant

The annual event to crown Miss Stanly County saw an expanded roster and two new titles this year.

Seventeen delegates competed for four crowns. Along with Miss Stanly County and Miss Stanly Teen, new categories of Miss Lake Tillery and Miss Lake Tillery Teen were created.

Brooke Tomberlin, who went to West Stanly High School, took the Miss Stanly 2024 crown, one of six in the competition.

“All these ladies had so much to offer,” Tomberlin said about winning the Miss Stanly crown. “I really just left it up to God and the fact that He pulled me through that and that He can use me, I was so shocked.”

Tomberlin’s community service initiative is to create “a more diverse Christian platform in the music industry, and to do what I believe I was called to do: serve Christ by serving others through the power of music.”

Tomberlin delivered a performance of Aretha Franklin’s Top 10 hit, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” in the talent competition.

Brooke Tomberlin is crowned Miss Stanly County. (Photo by CHARLES CURCIO/staff)

The first-runner up for Miss Stanly County was Dee Chappell.

For Miss Stanly Teen, the 2024 winner was first runner-up in last year’s competition, which was her first.

Lena Preslar said hearing her name called as Miss Stanly Teen “did not feel real. I have no idea how to explain it; it felt just like a dream.”

She said she felt more confident and prepared for this year’s pageant after her experience last year.

As a swim coach for Stanly County Special Olympics, Preslar’s community service initiative will deal with people with intellectual and developmental disorders (IDD) and their inclusion in athletics.

“The push for changes in societal standards has not been changed. I am here to bring that change,” Preslar said.

For the talent portion of the pageant, Preslar chose “She Used To Be Mine” from the Sara Bareilles musical “Waitress.”

Lena Preslar is crowned Miss Stanly Teen. (Photo by CHARLES CURCIO/staff)

This year’s winners include one previous Miss Stanly County, Karie Grace Shields, who won the inaugural 2024 Miss Lake Tillery crown. Shields, who was Miss Stanly 2020 and 2021, said winning the Lake Tillery crown was coming full circle for her.

“As this experience occurred, I looked back and I actually had my team to crown me. That was a surreal moment, not only for the journey but where I have come as well,” Shields said.

She said the moment when she heard her name called, she was overwhelmed with emotions.

“This is something I wanted to be able to do, to come back and represent my community,” Shields said.

Her community service initiative stems from her own experiences of when she was young and her family experienced a house fire. She ran for what once was her safe space, and she found solace in a stuffed animal.

Shields said her initiative has collected more than 600 stuffed animals, “providing children with the ability to cope, hope and love.” She said she plans to have future drives along with the release of a children’s book.

“Together, we can awaken their wonderfulness,” Shields said.

For the talent portion of the program, Shields sang “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

Katie Grace Shields is crowned Miss Lake Tillery. (Photo by CHARLES CURCIO/staff)

First runner-up for Miss Lake Tillery went to Tiffany Smith.

In the new Lake Tillery Teen category, Morgan Eudy claimed the inaugural crown, saying she was in “absolute shock” when she heard her name.

“As long as I’ve been in this organization, it’s absolutely a dream come true to be a teen title holder,” Eudy said.

She added she had been part of the Miss Stanly program since she was very young, including as a Carolina Princess in 2017.

As a traumatic brain injury survivor, Eudy’s community service initiative, Pass the Green Ribbon, will be to “support and promote awareness for those affected by brain injuries.” She said she has already reached TBI survivors in nine states with her initiative.

For her talent, Eudy danced to the song “About That Walk.”

Morgan Eudy is crowned Miss Lake Tillery Teen. (Photo by CHARLES CURCIO/staff)

Several other awards were announced at the pageant. The Larry Branch Memorial Congeniality awards went to Preslar from the teen delegates and Kate White from the Miss Stanly and Lake Tillery delegates. Both received a $100 scholarship.

Peyton Rice (teen) and Tiffany Smith (Miss) were honored for having the highest raffle ticket sales, while the People’s Choice Award winners from Saturday’s crowning advance on to the 2024 Miss North Carolina Pageant next summer.