National Sweetheart

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Miss National Sweetheart is a United States beauty pageant created in 1941 where runners-up from the Miss America state pageants are invited to Hoopeston, Illinois to compete for the title of Miss National Sweetheart, and the name of the title held by the winner of that pageant.[1]

The event, which has no official ties to the Miss America Organization, is sponsored by the Hoopeston Jaycees and is held on Labor Day weekend in conjunction with the town's revered annual Sweetcorn Festival.[2][3] Most contestants placed first runner-up in their state pageant, however second and other runners-up are invited if the first runner-up chooses not to attend.[4] The winner of the Miss National Sweetheart title receives a $1,200 scholarship and a pendant shaped like an ear of corn.[4]

Winning this title does not guarantee that a contestant will win a Miss America state title, but since 1980, five Miss National Sweetheart winners have gone on to win both their state and the Miss America title.[4] Since 1970 there have been nine Miss America titleholders who have competed in the National Sweetheart pageant.[5]

In 2016, the Miss America organization officially disassociated itself with the Miss National Sweetheart Organization. Miss America state pageant contestants were prohibited from competing.[6]

The 2023 National Sweetheart Pageant was held on September 3, 2023. The current titleholder is Miss California Sweetheart, Jireh Gerry.


Year Name State Later Miss America state title Placement at Miss America Notes
2023 Jireh Gerry California
2022 Savannah Jo Stevens Georgia
2021 Ashley Ehrhart Oklahoma Previously 3rd Runner-Up to Miss Oklahoma 2021; Later Miss Oklahoma USA 2022
2020 No pageant held due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2019 Jane Kennedy California Previously 4th Runner-Up to Miss California 2018 and 1st Runner-Up to Miss California 2019
2018 Kaitryana Michelle Leinbach Louisiana Later Miss Louisiana Volunteer 2022 and Top 10 at Miss Volunteer America.

Previously Miss U.S. International 2016 & 4th Runner-Up to Miss International, 1st Runner-Up to Miss Louisiana 2021; 4th Runner-Up to Miss Louisiana 2019; Top 10 Miss Louisiana 2018[7]

2017 Lauren Cabaniss South Carolina
In 2016, the Miss America Organization disassociated itself with the National Sweetheart pageant.[6]
2016 Victoria Humphrey Florida
2015 Kylee Solberg Idaho Miss Idaho 2016 Top 15
2014 Kalie Wright[8] Miss Idaho 2015 Later Miss Minnesota USA 2018[8]
2013 Jordan Krinke California Previously Miss California's Outstanding Teen 2007
2012 Desiree Williams Virginia Miss Virginia 2013 Later Miss Virginia USA 2016, Top 10 at Miss USA 2016, contestant on Survivor 35
2011 Simone Mullinax[9] Arkansas
2010 Brittany Hagan[10] Indiana
2009 Shannon Beam Virginia
2008 Rachelle Gurule Arizona
2007 Erica Gelhaus Ohio Miss Ohio 2009
2006 Kelley Bradshaw[11] Georgia
2005 Adrielle Churchill Arkansas Later Miss Arkansas USA 2010, Top 15 at Miss USA 2010
2004 Monica Pang Georgia Miss Georgia 2005 1st Runner-Up
2003 Kandice Pelletier Miss New York 2005 The Amazing Race 10 and All-Stars Contestant
2002 Madonna Kimberly Emond Michigan Miss Michigan 2003 Top 15
2001 Melissa Elise Clark Louisiana Miss Louisiana 2003
2000 MacKenzie Mayes Kentucky Miss Kentucky 2003
1999 Andrea Lee Bailey Georgia Miss Georgia 2003 Top 15
1998 Keri Lynn Shrader Florida Miss Maryland 1999 3rd Runner-Up
1997 Chera-Lyn Cook Kentucky Miss Kentucky 1998 4th Runner-Up
1996 Stacey Momeyer Arizona Miss Arizona 1997 3rd Runner-Up
1995 Tara Dawn Holland Florida Miss Kansas 1996 Winner
1994 Heather Rae Geery Oklahoma
1993 Megan Welch Florida Miss Florida 1994 Non-Finalist Interview Award
1992 Elizabeth Simmons Oregon Miss Oregon 1993 3rd Runner-Up
1991 Leanza Cornett Florida Miss Florida 1992 Winner Eva Leanza Cornett died at 49 on October 28, 2020, after falling in her kitchen at home on Oct. 12, 2020.
1990 Carolyn Suzanne Sapp Hawaii Miss Hawaii 1991
1989 Mairead O'Connor Connecticut
1988 Debbye Turner Arkansas Miss Missouri 1989 Winner[1]
1987 Melissa Aggeles Florida Miss Florida 1988 Top 10
1986 Carole Lynn Lawson Arkansas Miss Arkansas 1987
1985 Catherine Breslin Illinois
1984 Judy Anderson Arizona
1983 Margaret Marie O'Brien Massachusetts Miss Massachusetts 1984 Top 10
1982 Holly Mayer Miss Massachusetts 1983 Mother of Miss New York's Outstanding Teen 2011 and Miss New York 2019, Lauren Molella; Sister-in-law of Miss New York 1989, Lisa Molella[12]
1981 Gloria Gilbert Texas Miss Texas 1982
1980 Elizabeth Grace Ward Arkansas Miss Arkansas 1981 Winner
1979 Bobbie Candler Texas Miss Louisiana 1982
1978 Michelle Whitson Kansas Miss Kansas 1979 2nd Runner-Up
1977 Carolyn Jones Kentucky
1976 Guylyn Remmenga[13] Nebraska Miss Nebraska 1978 Top 10
1975 Carlene McGinnis Georgia
1974 Linda Hodges
1973 Rebecca Bloomer Texas
1972 Jacqueline Barret[14]
1971 Constance (Connie) Susan Hays Wisconsin
1970 Linda Brownfield Kentucky
1969 Mary Lee Nordby North Dakota
1968 Diana Barker[15] Kentucky
1967 Sidney Becker[16] Utah
1966 Vicki Lynn Hurd Tennessee Miss Tennessee 1966 2nd Runner-Up
1965 Diana Bateman Washington Later Miss Washington USA 1967
1964 Judy Duncan Ohio
1963 Colleen Thacker[17] Washington
1962 Linda Kay Rogers Texas
1961 Nancy McCelvey
1960 Marjorie Koehler Illinois
1959 Rita Wilson Tennessee Miss Tennessee 1961
1958 Janice Hansen Iowa
1957 Irene Meyer Ohio
1956 Joyce Riding Iowa
1955 Kerin Kae Okerlin
1954 Joyce Brown Illinois
1953 Sandra Porter Indiana
1952 Corine Javaag Minnesota
1951 Patricia Baker Wisconsin
1950 Janet Rainier Indiana
1949 Joyce Cisco Wisconsin
1948 Joan Edwards
1941 Alice Priscilla Baker


  1. ^ a b Guebert, Alan (6 September 2000). "Illinois town takes the title for corniest festival". Fort Myers News-Press.
  2. ^ Dempsey, Pam (2007-09-03). "Hoopeston festival a rich, and corny, tradition". The News-Gazette.
  3. ^ "Pretty Losers Vie for National Sweetheart Title". The News-Messenger. 25 August 1967.
  4. ^ a b c "Still Dreaming of Miss America Crown?". The Island Packet.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Crane, Tracy (1 September 2006). "National Sweetheart Pageant soldiers on with 28 contestants". News-Gazette.
  6. ^ a b Huba, Nicolas (February 28, 2016). "Miss America hopefuls can't do National Sweetheart pageant, report says". Press of Atlantic City.
  7. ^ Bolden, Bonnie (June 22, 2019). "Meagan Crews wins Miss Louisiana 2019". The News Star.
  8. ^ a b Johnson, Marie (6 December 2017). "The local royal: Eagle Bend's Kalie Wright crowned Miss Minnesota USA". Wadena Pioneer-Journal.
  9. ^ "National Sweetheart 2011 Crowned in Illinois". FourPoints Magazine. September 8, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  10. ^ Bollenbacher, Abby (September 6, 2010). "National Sweetheart 2010 Results!". MISScellanea. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  11. ^ King, Wendy (2006-09-04). "Georgia's Kelley Bradshaw Wins National Sweetheart". The Chattanoogan. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  12. ^ "Lauren Molella named Miss New York Outstanding Teen". SI Live. June 19, 2011.
  13. ^ "UNL Sophomore chosen new national sweetheart". The Lincoln Star. 8 September 1976.
  14. ^ "Jackie Barret new National Sweetheart". Brownville Bulletin. 6 September 1972.
  15. ^ "Corn festival queen". Kokomo Tribune. 3 September 1968.
  16. ^ "U of U Student Wins National Sweetheart Title". The Salt Lake Tribute. 6 September 1967.
  17. ^ "Brunette wins 1963 title of Miss Sweetheart". Galesburg Register-Mail. 3 September 1963.

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