Washington first sent delegates to Miss America in 1926 and 1927 with Leona Fengler Miss Seattle. She was sponsored by the Seattle Times (a practice common in the early days of the Miss America Pageant). She was pictured by the paper leaving in a bi-plane for her cross country flight to Atlantic City where she was voted 'Prettiest Girl in an Evening Gown'. Featured in the Seattle Museum of History and Industry in the exhibit 'Puttin on the Ritz' a 1920s display. In 1987, Leona was welcomed home and featured once again at the newly revived Miss Seattle Pageant that year.
The Depression and War years caused sporadic participation by Washington Contestants to the Miss America pageant, but the Miss Washington pageant was revived in 1948, with a $1000 scholarship being offered to the winner. In 1949 the Pageant was a 'financial flop' and the winner had to seek community donations to fund her appearance at Miss America. At the time the organization was so deeply in debt that the titleholder's tiara was nearly repossessed by the manufacturer.
Then as today the Miss America State Pageant programs are staffed, produced and sponsored by civic minded community volunteers and businesses who are mindful of promoting service to the community by the young ladies involved. The Primary function of the program is to provide scholarship dollars to further the contestants education, making the Miss America Local State and National the single largest Scholarship for young American Women who are American Citizens in the World. Unlike most other pageant programs there is no entry fee charged to the Contestant to compete and she must win a local Competition to get to the State level and then is eligible to go on to Miss America. The talent and trappings to compete from one level to the next are assisted when possible by the volunteer committees and sponsors, but the effort and dedication to the most of the opportunities available are indeed the responsibility of the participants. It is very often a fact that those women who never capture the top spot and move to the next levels of competition get the most personal growth from their interface with the ideas of making a difference in their community, and go on in life in pathways of great accomplishment. Simply by having had the opportunity to learn how to interview for the year of public service in the 'job' of Miss America.
From 1961 to 1997 it was hosted by Vancouver, under a number of Executive Directors before being moved to the Tri-Cities under the Directorship of Chamber President Dorothy Schoeppach under whose direction the local programs again grew from 9 to 22. Two years later it moved to Tacoma under the Directorship of Joan Dehn and Mike Shinkle.
The pageant has been held in Renton since 2008 under the Directorship of Charlie VanTramp and then to date 2013 Peggy Miller, and Patti Belik. The Miss Washington pageant is a 501-C3 Scholarship Organization, and sponsorship is tax deductible, although tickets to the events are not.
The Competitions Contestant Contracted rules continue to be Morally and Culturally upright. The participants must live work or go to school in the areas permitted by the programs they compete in, never married or have been pregnant, nor convicted of any crime.
Results at Miss America
Washington has won several special awards in Talent, Swimsuit, Interview and Quality of Life (making a difference in your community) at Miss America. In 1980 Doris Hayes, the first African American Miss Washington, tied with Lencola Sullivan of Arkansas as the pageant's first African American preliminary winners. The Local pageants and the Miss Washington pageant had in fact been multi-cultural for decades prior, and have had all ethnicities represented as entries to Miss America, including Honey Castro - Moses Lake, So Young Kwon - Seattle, Maryannna Loya - Seattle, Elyse Umemoto - Seattle, Semmelle Ford - Tacoma, Tina Willis - Tacoma.
The most successful Miss Washingtons at Miss America though the years have been:
1927 Leona Fengler Miss America Top 5 / 1926 'Prettiest Girl in Evening Gown' Finalist 1939 Annamae Schoonover Miss America 2nd runner-up 1950 Karlyne Abele Miss America Top 10 1959 Sharon Vaughn Miss America 2nd runner-up 1963 Mardi Hagan Miss America Judges Award 1964 Lsuren Waddleton Miss America Non-finalist Talent Award 1965 Kippy Lou Brinkman Miss America Non-finalist Talent AWard 1971 Susan Buckner Miss America Top 10 / Swimsuit Preliminary Award 1973 Leslie Ann Mays Miss America Top 10 / Swimsuit Preliminary Award 1974 Kathleen Beth Moore Miss America Top 10 1978 Laurie Nelson Miss America 4th runner-up 1980 Doris Hayes Miss America Top 10 / Preliminary Talent Award 1981 Kristine Weitz Miss America Non-finalist Talent Award, Preliminary Swimsuit Award 1983 Honey Castro Miss America 3rd runner-up 1989 Jennifer Wall Miss America Top 10 1991 So Young Kwon Miss America Top 10 2002 Amanda Beers Miss America Top 10 2003 Fianna Dickson Miss America Non-finalist Interview Award 2006 Kristen Eddings Miss America Top 10 2007 Elyse Umemoto Miss America 2nd runner-up / Reality Check Winner 2010 Jacquie Brown Miss America 3rd runner-up 2012 Britney Henry Miss America Non-finalist Talent Award 2013 Mandy Schendel Miss America Top 10
|Year||Name||Hometown||Age||Local Title||Miss America Talent||Placement at Miss America||Special scholarships at Miss America||Notes|
|2015||Lizzi Jackson||Miss Rainer||Vocal|
|2014||Kailee Dunn||Kennewick||22||Miss Spokane||Vocal "Someone Like You" from Jekyll & Hyde||Miss Tri Cities 2012, Miss Northwest 2013|
|2013||Reina Almon||Yakima||21||Miss Evergreen||Vocal "I (Who Have Nothing)"||Miss Washington's Outstanding Teen 2009, Miss Yakima County 2012, Miss Washington 2012 First Runner Up, Contestant at National Sweetheart 2012|
|2012||Mandy Schendel||Newcastle||22||Miss Eastside||Vocal "My Wish"||Top 10||Preliminary Swimsuit Award, Quality of Life Finalist||Was chosen 16th as the "Judges Choice" during the televised Miss America pageant 2013, Miss Washington Teen USA 2008|
|2011||Brittney Henry||Puyallup||24||Miss Eastside||Fiddle "Celtic Fiddle Medley"||Non-finalist Talent Award||Miss Columbia Basin 2010, Contestant at National Sweetheart 2010|
|2010||Jacquie Brown||Vancouver||21||Miss Greater Vancouver||Vocal "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone"||3rd runner-up|
|2009||Devanni Partridge||Auburn||20||Miss Seattle||Piano "Malagueña"||Miss Auburn 2007|
|2008||Janet Harding||Yelm||21||Miss Tahoma||Piano||Miss Whatcom County 2006|
|2007||Elyse Umemoto||Wapato||23||Miss Seattle||Popular Vocal "Angels"||2nd runner-up||Miss Pierce County 2006, First Runner Up Miss Washington 2006, 3rd runner-up at National Sweetheart 2006, Contestant on Survivor: South Pacific|
|2006||Kristen Eddings||Silverdale||22||Miss Kitsap||Vocal "For Once in My Life"||Top 10||Miss Poulsbo 2002|
|2005||Tina Marie Mares||Lynnwood||25||Miss Sno-isle||Classical Piano "Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp minor"|
|2004||Allison Porter||Tacoma||24||Miss Seattle||Classical Violin "Concerto in E Minor"|
|2003||Fianna Dickson||Spokane||24||Miss Spokane||Jazz Dance "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"||Non-finalist Interview Award||Contestant at National Sweetheart 2000|
|2002||Amanda Beers||Richland||20||Miss Tri-Cities||Classical Piano "Sonata Opus 31" by Beethoven||Top 15|
|2001||Breann Parriott||Puyallup||23||Miss Pierce County||Contemporary Ballet en Pointe "West Side Story"||Miss Washington USA 2003|
|2000||Semmelle Ford||Tacoma||19||Miss Pierce County||Classical Vocal "Art Is Calling for Me" from The Enchantress by Victor Herbert|
|1999||Tina Willis||Tacoma||20||Miss Pierce County||Vocal "Remember Me"|
|1998||Mariana Loya||Tacoma||19||Miss Pierce County||Classical Violin "Concerto in E Minor"||Scholar Award||Miss Arizona USA 2005|
|1997||Monta Monique||Pasco||24||Miss Seattle||Classical Piano "Rigoletto Paraphrase" by Franz Liszt|
|1996||Janet Reasons||Port Orchard||22||Miss Pierce County||Semi-classical Vocal "Half a Moment" from Jeeves|
|1995||Amber Hamilton||Auburn||18||Miss Auburn||Jazz Dance "Last Dance"|
|1994||Annalee Klein||Enumclaw||24||Miss SeaTac||Country Vocal "Sweet Dreams"|
|1993||Teri Ann Plante||Normandy Park||22||Miss Whatcom County||Tap Dance|
|1992||Colleen Kearney||Bellevue||26||Miss Issaquah||Jazz Piano "Dizzy Fingers" by Zez Confrey|
|1991||SoYoung Kwon||Olympia||22||Miss Seattle||Classical Piano "Mephisto Waltz"||Top 10|
|1990||Lynnae Thurik||Lake Oswego, Oregon||26||Miss Clark County||Classical Piano Piece by Sergei Rachmaninoff||Won Miss Washington while a student at Pacific Lutheran University|
|1989||Jennifer Wall||Issaquah||20||Miss Issaquah||Piano "Opus 706" by Carl Wilhelm Kern||Top 10|
|1988||Talia Watland||Poulsbo||24||Miss Seattle||Vocal "Pour on the Power"|
|1987||Sharon Dean||Issaquah||21||Miss Issaquah||Vocal Medley|
|1986||Melanie Cobb||Vancouver||24||Miss Clark County||Vocal "Let's Hear It For Me" from Funny Lady|
|1985||Honey Castro||Moses Lake||19||Miss Moses Lake||Vocal "What Did I Have I Don't Have Now" from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever||3rd runner-up||Dr. David B. Allman Medical Scholarship|
|1984||Rebecca Wood||Spokane||21||Miss Greater Tacoma||Vocal "If I Ruled the World"|
|1983||Jennifer Havlin||Bellingham||24||Miss Whatcom County||Character Ballet "On Golden Pond"|
|1982||Monica Hard||Bellevue||23||Miss Burien||Vocal Medley "Sweet Inspiration" & "Where You Lead"|
|1981||Kristine Weitz||Moses Lake||19||Miss Tri-Cities||Jazz Vocal "Summertime"||Preliminary Swimsuit Award, Non-finalist Talent Award|
|1980||Doris Hayes||Tacoma||20||Miss Pierce County||Jazz Vocal "Our Love Is Here to Stay"||Top 10||Preliminary Talent Award||First African American preliminary winner|
|1979||Janelle Martz||Normandy Park||22||Miss Des Moines||Classical Piano "Grieg's Piano Concerto In A Minor"|
|1978||Laurie Nelson||Gig Harbor||19||Miss Pierce County||Vocal "Have I Stayed Too Long At the Fair?"||4th runner-up||Toured with Miss America USO Troupe|
|1977||Natasha Solovjev||Burien||19||Miss Burien||Classical Piano "Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1"|
|1976||Theresa Adams||Wenatchee||19||Miss Greater Wenatchee||Classical Piano "Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G minor"||Successor to crown|
|Sharon Lea Lambert||Tacoma||Miss Pierce County||Resigned before Miss America Pageant. She was facing a shoplifting charge.|
|1975||Lee Ann Hibbert||Shoreline||22||Miss Northshore||Vocal / Jazz Improvisation "That's a Fine Kind O' Freedom"|
|1974||Charlene Joy Myers||Burien||Miss Burien||Successor to crown|
|Kathleen Beth Moore||Bothell||22||Miss Northshore||Classical Vocal "Italian Street Song"||Top 10||Resigned|
|1973||Leslie Ann Mays||Mercer Island||23||Miss Bellevue||Jazz Dance "The In Crowd"||Top 10||Preliminary Swimsuit Award|
|1972||Rebecca June Pozzi||Kent||20||Miss Kent||Vocal Medley "Consider Yourself" & "I'd Do Anything"||Toured with Miss America USO Troupe|
|1971||Susan Georgiana Buckner||Burien||19||Miss Burien||Gymnastics Dance "The Joker"||Top 10||Preliminary Swimsuit Award||Played the role of cheerleader Patty Simcox in the film Grease|
|1970||Nancy Kay Peterson||Moses Lake||19||Miss Moses Lake||Original Comedy Monologue "Once Upon a Leaf"|
|1969||Marsha Covey||Moses Lake||19||Miss Moses Lake||Vocal Medley "Love Come Again" & "That's Life"|
|1968||Joyce Kay Stepanek||Issaquah||20||Miss Issaquah||Comedy Routine "The Adventures of Huck Finn"|
|1967||Lynda Jean Kilp||White Center||19||Miss White Center||Vocal Medley "One Boy" & "A Lot of Livin To Do" from Bye Bye Birdie|
|1966||Sandra Lee Marth||Centralia||19||Miss Lewis County||Semi-classical Vocal "Habanera"|
|1965||Kippy Lou Brinkman||Richland||21||Miss Seattle||Harp & Tap Dance "Night and Day"||Non-finalist Talent Award||1st runner-up at Miss Wool of America 1964|
|1964||Lauren Elaine Waddleton||Burien||19||Miss Burien||Vocal "I Could Have Danced All Night"||Top 10|
|1963||Mardi Hagen||Tacoma||Miss Seattle||Modern & Classical Character Dance||Non-finalist Talent Award|
|1962||Susan Frances English||Bellevue||19||Miss Bellevue||Dramatic Reading|
|1961||Gail Leona Hannuk||Aberdeen||18||Miss Grays Harbor||Piano "Warsaw Concerto"||Contestant at Miss Wool of America 1962|
|1960||Connie Rae Hughes||Bellingham||18||Miss Bellingham||Original Monologue|
|1959||Sharon Joyce Vaughn||Port Orchard||21||Miss South Kitsap||Vocal Medley "Habanera" & "I Cain't Say No"||2nd runner-up||Preliminary Swimsuit Award|
|1958||Anne Sylvia Henderson||Spokane||Miss Spokane||Pantomime & Charleston Dance|
|1951||Darlene Shaffer||Seattle||Dress Design|
|1950||Karlyne Abele||Des Moines||Dramatic Reading "The Flag"||Top 16|
|1949||Libby Aldrich||Kelso||Vocal "Stormy Weather"|
|1948||Lorraine Lowder||Aberdeen||Miss Grays Harbor||Hula dance|
|1939||Annamae Schoonover||Seattle||Dramatic Monologue from Accent on Youth||2nd runner-up|
|1933||Gladine Sweetser||22||Top 18|
|1927||No Miss Washington||Representing Washington were: Eleanor Maddieux, Miss Seattle and Eva King, Miss Spokane|
|1926||No Miss Washington||Leone Natalie Fengler competed as Miss Seattle and placed as a Finalist. Also representing Washington were: Gloria Smith, Miss Spokane and Dorothy Rothermal, Miss Tacoma|
|1925||No Miss Washington||Evelyn Louise Carman competed as Miss Seattle.|
|1922||No Miss Washington||Evelyn Atkinson competed as Miss Seattle.|
* Succeeded to the crown after Miss Washington won Miss America
- Seattle Museaum of History and Industry
- "Miss Washington's Crown in Danger". Eugene Register-Guard. 1949-08-29.
- "Kelso-Longview affair to help Miss Washington". Ellensburg Daily Record. 1949-08-30.
- "Miss Washington Winners to Get Fine Scholarships". 1949-08-11.
- "Ephrata greets state beauties". The Spokesman-Review. 1948-06-23.
- "Miss Washington Pageant to Change Site".
- "Despite loss, Miss Tri-Cities eager to cheer on new Miss Washington". Tri City Herald. 2000-07-04.
- "Miss Washington". Spokesman-Review. 1980-06-22.
- "Miss Washington ties in pageant talent test". The Spokesman-Review. 1980-09-05.
- "Miss Washington is second runner-up for Miss America". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 2008-01-28.
- "Miss Washington snags 2nd runner-up spot". kimatv.com. 2008-01-28.
- Culverwell, Wendy (1998-06-21). "Stunned Miss Pierce wins state title". Tri City Herald.
- "Issaquah Woman is Miss Washington". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. 1989-06-23.
- "Miss Washington Crowned". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 1985-06-24.
- "Miss Washington is second runner-up for Miss America". Tri City Herald. 1985-08-15.
- "Dancer Crowned Miss Washington". Spokane Chronicle. 1983-06-27.
- Associated Press (1978-06-25). "Gig Harbor Girl Miss Washington". Tri City Herald.
- "Title Resigned". The Deseret News. Jul 12, 1976.
- "Search for swimsuit pays off for Miss Washington". Tri City Herald. 1973-09-07.
- "Seattle Miss Wins State's Beauty Title". Ellensburg Daily Record. 1964-07-20.
- "Co-ed is Miss Washington". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 1959-05-11.
- "3 Tie in Talent Competition of Miss America Contest". Toledo Blade. 1959-09-10.
- "Miss Washington is Ex-Idahoan". Spokesman-Review. 1951-08-01.
- "Des Moines Miss is 1950 Miss Washington". Ellensburg Daily Record. 1950-08-08.