Miss Tennessee

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Stefanie Wittler, Miss Tennessee 2009
Allison Alderson, Miss Tennessee 1999 (pictured in 2008)
Kellye Cash, Miss Tennessee 1986 & Miss America 1987
Linda Workman, Miss Tennessee 1967

The Miss Tennessee competition is the pageant that selects the representative for the state of Tennessee in the Miss America pageant.

Christine Williamson of Chattanooga was crowned Miss Tennessee 2018 on June 23, 2018 at Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson, Tennessee. She will compete for the title of Miss America 2019 on September 9, 2018 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.


The Miss Tennessee pageant was first held in 1938, although the winner, Isobel Carter, was unable to compete at Miss America due to illness and so the 1st runner-up became Miss Tennessee. The following year, two winners were chosen to compete for the Miss America title. In 1940 the pageant suffered a repeat of 1938, with the winner resigning through illness and the 1st runner-up representing the state at the national competition. The routine pageant was held in 1941, but from 1942-1946 representatives were appointed without a pageant being held, due to World War II. In 1947 twins Jean and Jane Cunningham were both awarded the Miss Tennessee title, with one representing Tennessee and one Chattanooga at the Miss America pageant. The modern era of the pageant can be dated to 1953, when a regular routine of state pageants was instituted.

Kellye Cash, Miss America 1987, is the second Miss Tennessee to win the national title. Six titleholders have placed as runners-up to Miss America. Tennessee native Barbara Jo Walker was Miss America 1947 and represented the city of Memphis when she won the title.

In a rare occurrence, all three Miss Tennessees 1999-2001 later won the similar Miss Tennessee USA pageant, whose delegates represent Tennessee at Miss USA. More remarkable was that the three won the Miss Tennessee USA title in the order which they held their Miss Tennessee titles. Allison Alderson, one of the three, is a Triple Crown winner, having competed for Tennessee at Miss Teen USA 1994 as well. Three other Miss Tennessees have won the Miss Tennessee USA title, Jean Harper, Desiree Daniels, and Leah Hulan.

Two Miss Tennessees have won the National Sweetheart title, Rita Wilson and Vicki Hurd.

Results summary[edit]

The year in parentheses indicates the year of the Miss America competition the award/placement was garnered.


  • Miss Americas: Barbara Jo Walker (1947), Kellye Cash (1987)
  • 1st runners-up: Sue Burton (1922), Desiree Daniels (1983)
  • 2nd runners-up: Vicki Hurd (1967), Dana Brown (1991), Stephanie Culberson (2002), Stefanie Wittler (2010)
  • 3rd runners-up: Martha Truett (1964)
  • Top 7: Ellen Carrington (2009), Hannah Robison (2016)
  • Top 10: Gerry Johnson (1955), Marion "Mickey" Wayland (1960), Brenda Seal (1969), Deborah Kincaid (1975), Linda Moore (1978), Shelly Mangrum (1985), Erin Hatley (2012), Chandler Lawson (2013), Hayley Lewis (2015), Grace Burgess (2017)
  • Top 12: Caty Davis (2018)
  • Top 13: Lee Henson (1945)
  • Top 15: Georgia Cunningham (1947), Lois Jeanette Welch (1948), Jean Harper (1952)
  • Top 16: Grace Gore (2008)
  • Top 23: Elizabeth Mallory (1923)


Preliminary awards[edit]

Non-finalist awards[edit]

  • Non-finalist Talent: Mary Cox (1970), Elise Neal (1980), Moira Kaye (1984), Carrie Folks (1989), Beth Hood (2001), Ashley Eicher (2005), Tara Burns (2006)
  • Non-finalist Interview: Alison Shumate (1996)

Other awards[edit]


Year Name Hometown Age Local Title Miss America Talent Placement at Miss America Special scholarships at Miss America Notes
2018 Christine Williamson[1] Chattanooga 22 Miss Chattanooga Vocal TBD TBD
2017 Caty Davis[2] Knoxville 22 Miss Lexington Vocal, "I Have Nothing" Top 12[3]
2016 Grace Burgess[4] Memphis 22 Miss Mid-South Vocal "Desperado" by The Eagles Top 10 Preliminary Talent Award[5]
Quality of Life Award Finalist[6]
Contestant at National Sweetheart 2015
2015 Hannah Robison[7] Paris 21 Miss Scenic City Piano "El Cumbanchero" by Rafael Hernández Marín Top 7[8] STEM Scholarship Winner
Quality of Life Award 1st runner-up
America's Choice[9]
2014 Hayley Lewis[10] Nashville 21 Miss Tennessee Valley Vocal "I (Who Have Nothing)" Top 10
2013 Shelby Thompson Franklin 23 Miss Capital City Vocal "Time to Say Goodbye"
2012 Chandler Lawson[11] Tullahoma 22 Miss Chattanooga Vocal "Turning Tables" Top 10[12] Quality of Life Award 2nd runner-up[13] Contestant at National Sweetheart 2011
2011 Erin Hatley[14] Bartlett 20 Miss Collierville Classical Vocal "Piano" Top 10
2010 Nicole Jordan[15] Cordova 21 Miss Lexington Vocal "All by Myself"
2009 Stefanie Wittler[16] Soddy-Daisy 22 Miss Hamilton County Vocal "I Will Always Love You" 2nd runner-up[17] Quality of Life Award Finalist
2008 Ellen Carrington Jackson 21 Miss Scenic City Vocal "Vole Mon Ange" from Svengali Top 7
2007 Grace Gore Nashville 24 Miss Lexington Vocal "What a Wonderful Day" Top 16 Quality of Life Award Finalist Previously Miss Mississippi Teen USA 2002
2006 Blaire Pancake Chattanooga 24 Miss Metropolitan Vocal "Attitude"
2005 Tara Burns Nashville 22 Miss Music City Classical Vocal "Art Is Calling For Me" from The Enchantress by Victor Herbert Non-finalist Talent Award
2004 Ashley Eicher Nashville 24 Miss Murfreesboro Vocal "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" Non-finalist Talent Award
2003 Jamie Watkins Soddy-Daisy 23 Miss Scenic City Vocal "If I Can Dream" 4th runner-up at National Sweetheart 2001
2002 Valli Kugler Rutherford 22 Miss UT Martin Vocal "At Last"
2001 Stephanie Culberson Knoxville 21 Miss Cleveland Classical Piano "Fantaisie-Impromptu" 2nd runner-up Preliminary Evening Wear Award

Preliminary Swimsuit Award
Later Miss Tennessee USA 2004, 4th runner-up at Miss USA 2004
2000 Beth Hood Cleveland 21 Miss Cleveland Vocal "Desperado" Non-finalist Talent Award Later Miss Tennessee USA 2003, 4th runner-up at Miss USA 2003
1999 Allison Alderson Jackson 22 Miss Memphis Piano / Vocal Medley "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" & "River Deep – Mountain High" Waterford Scholarship for Business Marketing & Management Triple Crown winner

Married to Rascal Flatts musician Jay DeMarcus[citation needed]

Correspondent for the 2007 Miss America Pageant broadcast on CMT[citation needed]

1998 Heather Heath Nashville 21 Miss Heart of Tennessee Vocal "Think of Me" Quality of Life Award Finalist Previously Missouri's Junior Miss 1995
1997 Lanna Keck Knoxville 23 Miss Milan No-Till Gospel Vocal "Go Light Your World"
1996 Jeni Stephens Memphis 23 Miss Memphis Popular Vocal "Operator"
1995 Alison Shumate Union City 21 Miss Knoxville Vocal Medley "Crazy for You" & "I Got Rhythm" Non-finalist Interview Award Daughter of Miss Tennessee 1967, Linda Workman
1994 Lori Smith Ocoee 21 Miss Tennessee Tech Piano Solo "The Firefly" by Anton Bilotti
1993 Kathleen Brang Greeneville 24 Miss Historic Jonesborough Popular Vocal "Dare to Dream"
1992 Leah Hulan Murfreesboro 24 Miss Knoxville Clogging "Can't Stop Now" Later Miss Tennessee USA 1994
1991 Jill Horn Memphis 23 Miss Memphis Vocal "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever"
1990 Dana Brown Memphis 25 Miss Frontier Days Vocal & Piano "The Glory of Love" & "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" 2nd runner-up
1989 Lisa Robertson Collegedale 23 Miss Cleveland Violin Solo "Orange Blossom Special"
1988 Carrie Folks New Johnsonville 20 Miss Bluegrass Festival A Capella Vocal "Sweet Dreams" Non-finalist Talent Award
1987 Regina Athnos Clarksville 23 Miss Tennessee Peach Festival Flute Medley "I'll Fly Away" & "Amazing Grace"
1986 Kris Beasley Memphis Miss Memphis
Assumed the title after Cash was named Miss America 1987
Kellye Cash Milan 21 Miss Milan Crown and Scepter Piano / Vocal "I'll Be Home" Winner Preliminary Swimsuit Award

Preliminary Talent Award
1985 Sonya Pleasant Mountain City 22 Miss Wautauga Valley Vocal "I Fall to Pieces"
1984 Shelly Mangrum Nashville 23 Miss West Tennessee State Fair Vocal "And the World Goes 'Round" Top 10
1983 Moira Kaye Oak Ridge 23 Miss Roane County Vocal "Memory" Non-finalist Talent Award
1982 Desiree Daniels Chattanooga 22 Miss Hamilton County Popular Vocal "Don't Cry Out Loud" 1st runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award Later Miss Tennessee USA 1984, 2nd runner-up at Miss USA 1984
1981 Angelina Johnson Jackson 20 Miss Madison Ventriloquism "Laverne & Shirley"
1980 Sarah Leonard Jonesborough 20 Miss Historic Jonesborough Popular Vocal "We Could Have Had It All"
1979 Elise Neal Paris 21 Miss Okra Piano Solo "Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C minor" Non-finalist Talent Award
1978 Jill Beshears Memphis 22 Miss Memphis State University Vocal Medley "You'll Never Walk Alone" & "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"
1977 Linda Moore Madison 22 Miss Nashville Vocal "Evening Gowns Are Not For Children" Top 10 Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1976 Terry Alden Memphis 21 Miss Memphis Classical Piano "Toccata"
1975 Marion Burgess Memphis 21 Miss Bells Tap Dance "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die" Toured with Miss America USO Troupe
1974 Deborah Kincaid Memphis 21 Miss Memphis State University Vocal Medley "Once In a Lifetime", "In My Own Lifetime", & "This Is My Life" Top 10 Preliminary Talent Award
1973 Anne Randle Galloway Knoxville 20 Miss Memphis Piano "Rhapsody in Blue"
1972 Debbie Cathey Nashville 20 Miss Nashville Semi-classical Vocal "Amazing Grace"
1971 Marsha McDonald Nashville 21 Miss Memphis State University Ballet "Over And Over Again"
1970 Carol Ferrante Memphis 21 Miss Memphis Vocal Medley of Popular Songs
1969 Mary Cox Johnson City 20 Miss Johnson City Semi-classical Vocal "One Kiss" from The New Moon Non-finalist Talent Award Toured with Miss America USO Troupe
1968 Brenda Seal Kingsport 19 Miss East Tennessee State University Popular Vocal "What Now My Love" Top 10 Contestant at National Sweetheart 1967
Featured performer on Miss America 1970 telecast
1967 Linda Workman Martin 18 Miss UT Martin Vocal "I Don't Care" Mother of Miss Tennessee 1995, Alison Shumate
1966 Vicki Hurd Kingsport 19 Miss Carter County Original Vocal "I'm In a Pageant" 2nd runner-up Previously National Sweetheart 1965
Featured performer on Miss America 1968 telecast
1965 Marcia Murray Paris 19 Miss Paris Popular Vocal "Spellbound"
1964 Rita Munsey New Tazewell 20 Miss Knoxville Vocal Medley & Accordion "You Don't Know Me" & "Walkin' After Midnight"
1963 Martha Truett Tiptonville Miss Bells Piano Solo "Rhapsody In Blue" 3rd runner-up
1962 Margaret Petty Nashville 19 Miss Nashville Vocal "Something Wonderful"
1961 Rita Wilson Humboldt 20 Miss Bells Vocal "I'm Doing Alright For a Mountain Gal" Previously National Sweetheart 1959
1960 Jenny Thomas Nashville 19 Miss Nashville Modern Ballet "Porgy and Bess"
1959 Marion "Mickey" Wayland Knoxville 18 Miss Knoxville Piano / Vocal "Près des remparts de Séville" from Carmen & "I Cain't Say No" Top 10
1958 Patricia Eaves Cookeville Miss Putnam County Dramatic Monologue "Viola's Ring Scene" from Twelfth Night
1957 Amanda Whitman Nashville Miss Davidson County Trampoline / Tumbling "The Third Man Theme"
1956 Shelby Bailey Humboldt Miss Gadsden Vocal "It Takes Two To Tango"
1955 Patty Williams Jackson Miss Lambuth College Vocal "The Student Prince"
1954 Gerry Johnson Nashville Miss Nashville Vocal / Character Pantomime "The Deadwood Stage" Top 10
1953 Ruth Ann Barker Trenton Miss Gibson County Vocal
1952 Gloria Williams Chattanooga Miss Chattanooga Vocal "Lover When You're Near Me"
1951 Jean Harper Memphis Miss Shelby County Vocal "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" Top 15 Later Miss Tennessee USA 1952, 3rd runner-up at Miss USA 1952
1950 Greta Graham Memphis Miss Memphis Organ Solo "Tico-Tico"
1949 Adelyn Sumner Knoxville Modeling / Speech
1948 Lois Jeanette Welch Memphis Miss Memphis Vocal & Fashion Design "Gianni Mia" Top 15 Multiple Tennessee representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Dorothy Free Chattanooga Miss Tennessee Vocal Medley "Let My Song Fill Your Heart" by Ernest Charles & "Embraceable You" Preliminary Talent Award
1947 Dorothy Cunningham Miss Chattanooga Tap Dance
Barbara Jo Walker Memphis 21 Miss Memphis Art Display & Vocal Medley "One Kiss" & "Un Bel Di" from Madama Butterfly Winner Preliminary Talent Award
Georgia Cunningham Miss Tennessee Tap Dance Top 15
1946 Wilda Bowman Chattanooga
1945 Lee Henson Chattanooga Vocal Medley "Dreams" & "I Didn't Know the Gun Was Loaded" Top 13 Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1944 Marian Weller Chattanooga Vocal "Some Day I'll Find You"
1943 Frances Eakes Chattanooga Miss Chattanooga
No Tennessee representative at Miss America pageant
1941 Katherine Gammon Knoxville Miss Knoxville Multiple Tennessee representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Martha McKinney Nashville Miss Tennessee Acrobatic / Tap Dance
1940 Thelma McGhee Knoxville Miss Knoxville
Christine Webb Centerville Miss Tennessee Dramatic Monologue "The Waltz"
1939 Judy Jones Tracy City Miss Tennessee Vocal Medley "I Surrender" & "Come True"
Louise Bussart Etowah Miss West Tennessee
1938 Victoria Ann Motlow Mulberry Miss Fayetteville Vocal "You Turned the Tables on Me" Original winner, Isobel Carter, resigned due to illness[citation needed]
No Tennessee representative at Miss America pageant
1935 Sarah Beard Dickson
No pageant was held
1924 Ann Werner Miss Nashville Competed under local title at Miss America pageant
1923 Elizabeth Mallory Miss Memphis Top 23
1922 Ruth Doughty Miss Memphis Multiple Tennessee representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Sue Burton Miss Nashville 1st runner-up


  1. ^ Shields, Brandon (June 23, 2018). "Miss Tennessee 2018: Miss Chattanooga Christine Williamson". Jackson Sun. 
  2. ^ Jackson, Brittney L. (June 24, 2017). "Miss Lexington named Miss Tennessee 2017". The Jackson Sun. 
  3. ^ Jackson, Brittney L. (September 11, 2017). "Miss Tennessee makes top 12 in Miss America pageant". The Jackson Sun. 
  4. ^ "Grace Burgess is Miss Tennessee 2016". pageantsnews.com. 
  5. ^ Kuperinsky, Amy (September 6, 2016). "Miss America 2017 night 1: D.C. wins swimsuit, Tennessee takes talent". NJ.com. 
  6. ^ "Miss America 2017 will be one of these 52 contestants". AL.com. September 6, 2016. 
  7. ^ Burgess, Katherine (June 22, 2015). "Miss Scenic City takes Miss Tennessee 2015 crown". The Jackson Sun. Jackson, TN: Gannett. 
  8. ^ Smithwick, Dana (September 13, 2015). "Miss Tennessee places in the top 7". The Jackson Sun. Jackson, TN: Gannett. 
  9. ^ "Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, Crowned Miss America 2016" (Press release). Miss America. September 13, 2015. Archived from the original on September 16, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Miss Tenn. Valley crowned Miss Tennessee 2014". June 22, 2014. 
  11. ^ "3rd time was the charm for Miss Tennessee winner Chandler Lawson". Chattanooga Times Free Press. June 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Chandler Lawson Finishes In Miss America Top 10". The Chattanoogan. January 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Chandler Lawson Is 2nd Runner-Up In Miss America Quality Of Life Award". The Chattanoogan. January 11, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Erin Hatley wins Miss Tennessee 2011 title". ibtimes.com. June 20, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Nicole Jordan is crowned Miss Tennessee 2010". The Jackson Sun. June 20, 2010. Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Miss Tennessee Stefanie Wittler thankful for local support". Chattanooga Times Free Press. January 6, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Stefanie Wittler second runner-up to Miss America". Chattanooga Times Free Press. January 30, 2010. 

External links[edit]