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.
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. 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. The winner of the Miss National Sweetheart title receives a $1,200 scholarship and a pendant shaped like an ear of corn.
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. Since 1970 there have been nine Miss America titleholders who have competed in the National Sweetheart pageant.
In 2016, the Miss America organization officially disassociated itself with the Miss National Sweetheart Organization. Miss America state pageant contestants were prohibited from competing.
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|
|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.|
|2017||Lauren Cabaniss||South Carolina|
In 2016, the Miss America Organization disassociated itself with the National Sweetheart pageant.
|2015||Kylee Solberg||Idaho||Miss Idaho 2016||Top 15|
|2014||Kalie Wright||Miss Idaho 2015||Later Miss Minnesota USA 2018|
|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|
|2007||Erica Gelhaus||Ohio||Miss Ohio 2009|
|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|
|1988||Debbye Turner||Arkansas||Miss Missouri 1989||Winner|
|1987||Melissa Aggeles||Florida||Miss Florida 1988||Top 10|
|1986||Carole Lynn Lawson||Arkansas||Miss Arkansas 1987|
|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|
|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|
|1976||Guylyn Remmenga||Nebraska||Miss Nebraska 1978||Top 10|
|1971||Constance (Connie) Susan Hays||Wisconsin|
|1969||Mary Lee Nordby||North Dakota|
|1966||Vicki Lynn Hurd||Tennessee||Miss Tennessee 1966||2nd Runner-Up|
|1965||Diana Bateman||Washington||Later Miss Washington USA 1967|
|1962||Linda Kay Rogers||Texas|
|1959||Rita Wilson||Tennessee||Miss Tennessee 1961|
|1955||Kerin Kae Okerlin|
|1941||Alice Priscilla Baker|
- Guebert, Alan (6 September 2000). "Illinois town takes the title for corniest festival". Fort Myers News-Press.
- Dempsey, Pam (2007-09-03). "Hoopeston festival a rich, and corny, tradition". The News-Gazette.
- "Pretty Losers Vie for National Sweetheart Title". The News-Messenger. 25 August 1967.
- "Still Dreaming of Miss America Crown?". The Island Packet.[permanent dead link]
- Crane, Tracy (1 September 2006). "National Sweetheart Pageant soldiers on with 28 contestants". News-Gazette.
- Huba, Nicolas (February 28, 2016). "Miss America hopefuls can't do National Sweetheart pageant, report says". Press of Atlantic City.
- Bolden, Bonnie (June 22, 2019). "Meagan Crews wins Miss Louisiana 2019". The News Star.
- Johnson, Marie (6 December 2017). "The local royal: Eagle Bend's Kalie Wright crowned Miss Minnesota USA". Wadena Pioneer-Journal.
- "National Sweetheart 2011 Crowned in Illinois". FourPoints Magazine. September 8, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
- Bollenbacher, Abby (September 6, 2010). "National Sweetheart 2010 Results!". MISScellanea. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
- 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.
- "Lauren Molella named Miss New York Outstanding Teen". SI Live. June 19, 2011.
- "UNL Sophomore chosen new national sweetheart". The Lincoln Star. 8 September 1976.
- "Jackie Barret new National Sweetheart". Brownville Bulletin. 6 September 1972.
- "Corn festival queen". Kokomo Tribune. 3 September 1968.
- "U of U Student Wins National Sweetheart Title". The Salt Lake Tribute. 6 September 1967.
- "Brunette wins 1963 title of Miss Sweetheart". Galesburg Register-Mail. 3 September 1963.