El Dorado Ambassadors Shine

Butler County Represented at Miss Kansas

Gorgeous weather in Pratt, last week, provided the perfect backdrop for Sierra Marie Bonn, Miss El Dorado (who serves the Miss America Organization as Miss Butler County); Suzannah Bowden, Miss Golden Road, (who serves as Miss Ruby Slippers); and Jordan Burford Miss Sunflower Fest, (who serves as Miss Heartland) to participate in the Miss Kansas Scholarship Competition.

Left to right: Suzannah Bowden, Sierra Marie Bonn and Jordan Burford

They were each awarded $1,500 for reaching the Miss Kansas stage. 

The week began as they checked in to Miss Kansas Week on Tuesday, June 7th and hit the ground running with a welcome ceremony that included the announcement of the Top 5 Finalists for the Social Impact Initiative (SII) Scholarship.

Social Impact Initiative Top 5 Finalists (from left to right) are Suzannah Bowden, Courtney Wages, Sierra Marie Bonn, Jetta Smith and Katelyn Andrist.

Congratulations are in order to Bonn who earned another $1,000 for her SII work on “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” and Bowden who earned another $500 for her SII work on “Mentoring the Next.”

They spent the first full day in rehearsals and meeting sponsors.  Wednesday brought more rehearsals, sponsor visits and the Private Interview portion of the competition.  During the interview with the judges they were able to share their heart and passion for their Community Service and the impact they have made through their SII.

Thursday brought another full day of rehearsals, sponsor visits and Preliminary Night One, which showcased the young women’s strengths on stage with Social Impact Pitch and On Stage Question, Talent Performance and Red Carpet Wear.  Each of the categories allowed the women to express their unique personal style and confidence in the Pratt Community College arena to a few hundred people. 

From left to right: Sierra Marie Bonn, Kennedy Bables, Kaydence Dawson, and Madelyn Olson.

Friday, June 10th brought another full day of rehearsals and Preliminary Night Two and the official check-in for our Sunflower Princesses. Kennedy Bables, Kaydence Dawson, Madelyn Olson and Juliana Burford represented El Dorado this year and their enthusiasm and encouragement was contagious as they cheered on the girls.

Juliana Buford joined her sister Jordan during Miss Kansas Week.

They started the day receiving their crowns and swag. They participated in mentoring sessions, a paint party, pizza party and ended their day by watching the girls on-stage. 

Sierra was awarded the $1,000 Esther Scholarship and earned another $750 in cash for her fundraising and recruiting work.

Sierra Marie Bonn signing autographs during an event prior to the parade.  Her costume and shoes promoted her social impact initiative “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” as well as highlighting the Kansas Tourism motto, “To The Stars”

Saturday is always filled with fun events and this year was no different.  First up was an autograph signing session followed by the Show Us Your Shoes parade downtown. 

Suzannah Bowden was dressed in a blue gingham with red rhinestone shoes to showcase her title of Miss Ruby Slippers.
Jordan Burford decorated her shoes and costume with butterflies to help bring awareness to her social impact initiative, “Raising Awareness For Child Loss”

The afternoon was filled with more rehearsals in preparation for the final competition while the Sunflowers had a skate party and tour of the Pratt County Historical Museum.

During Finals, the Sunflowers had their special runway show and a pajama viewing party. In total, Jordan, Suzannah and Sierra earned almost $8,000 in scholarships to continue their educational pursuits. 

Kaydance Dawson and Kennedy Bables in their Sunflower Princess crowns and t-shirts during the parade.

“The Miss El Dorado Ambassadors are so appreciative of the sponsors and supporters of the program.  Their support enables young women from our community to develop personal and professional skills, pursue their education and in turn, reinvest in our community through various initiatives and community service projects,” said Bonn.  

Please contact the Miss El Dorado Ambassadors to learn how you or your organization can help support the Miss El Dorado Ambassadors. 

Miss Butler County and Miss Augusta Crowned

“There she is,” in the iconic words immortalized by Bert Parks, “the dream of a million girls who are more than pretty.”  

From left to right: Augusta’s Teen Candidate Emmie Johnston, Miss Augusta 2022 Anna Holman, Miss Kansas 2021 Taylor Clark, Miss Butler County 2022 Sierra Marie Bonn, Butler County’s Teen Candidate Grace Isch.

Sierra Marie Bonn was crowned Miss Butler County and Anna Holman was crowned Miss Augusta during the annual Miss Augusta/Miss Butler County Scholarship Competition held at Augusta High School on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

Bonn, a resident of Butler County, an El Dorado High School alum and Miss El Dorado 2021.  She served the community as Miss Augusta 2019. 

.Miss Butler County 2020-21 Allie Gier crowns her successor Miss Butler County 2022 Sierra Marie Bonn. Gier served two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She is a graduate of Wichita State University with an engineering technology degree. Bonn advocates for STEAM education through her SII “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!”  STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.  

“‘Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!’ was founded to empower individuals of all ages to develop the critical thinking and collaboration skills needed to advance in their personal and professional lives,” said Bonn. “Additionally, the program works to resolve the inequity and underrepresentation in STEAM fields.” 

Holman is a resident of Columbus, Kansas and she was Miss Augusta’s Outstanding Teen 2019.  She is a Junior at Pittsburg State University and her educational focus is exercise science with a pre-physical therapy emphasis.  She advocates for physical fitness and inclusion for people with disabilities through her social impact initiative, “Fitness for All.”

Six young women competed for the titles of Miss Augusta and Miss Butler County and the scholarship dollars that accompany those titles.  The candidates were Maddie Livingston, Tyler Pollard, Payton Keller, Katie Brooks, Anna Holman and Sierra Marie Bonn. 

“Both Sierra and Anna will receive a wonderful scholarship and wardrobe assistance for the Miss Kansas Competition in June 2022,” said Miss Augusta/Miss Butler County Executive Director Larry Strong.

Bonn won an additional $100 scholarship as the overall interview winner.  The scholarships can be paid directly to the institution they are attending or towards student loan payments. 

The phases of competition include a private interview with judges, a Social Impact Initiative (SII) pitch and on-stage question, talent performance and red carpet wear. 

Augusta’s Teen Candidate Emmie Johnston, left, and Butler County’s Teen Candidate Grace Isch, right.

Two Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen (MKSOTeen) Candidates, Emmie Johnston and Grace Isch, made their first official appearance as well.  Jonhston will represent Augusta and Isch will represent Butler County at the MKSOTeen Competition March 25-27, 2022 in Pratt, Kansas.

The Miss Augusta/Miss Butler County Scholarship Competition is a local competition within the Miss America Organization and Strong has been involved with the organization for 47 years. 

Larry Strong, center, with Miss Butler County Sierra Marie Bonn, left, and Miss Augusta Anna Holman, right.

“The first Miss Butler County Scholarship Pageant was held on September 3, 1975,” said Strong.  

“In 2006, the Miss Augusta title was part of the White Eagle Festival,” said Strong.  “In 2008, both the Miss Augusta and Miss Butler County titles merged to become an official local of the Miss Kansas Organization, Inc.”

Throughout his many years of involvement, Strong has a successful track record of helping young women with their personal and professional development.  

As a volunteer, he works to fulfill the mission of the Miss America and Miss Kansas Organizations, to “prepare great women for the world and prepare the world for great women.”  

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Miss America Organization.  The Miss America Organization is a nationally recognized non-profit and serves as one of the largest providers of scholarship assistance to young women in the world. 

Since 2010, Strong estimates that the Miss Augusta/Miss Butler County Organization has awarded over $35,000 in scholarships. 

Strong said 6 women from the organization that have gone on to become Miss Kansas.  They are Heather Lynn Clark, Michelle Walthers, Emily Deaver, Lauren Werhan, Hannah Wagner and the current Miss Kansas, Taylor Clark.   

“Taylor was Miss Butler County’s Outstanding Teen 2017 and went on to win Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen 2017,” said Strong.  “Taylor was Miss Augusta 2020 and she is the first teen titleholder to also become Miss Kansas.” 

Additionally, he is proud of the many girls from Miss Augusta/Miss Butler County who have gone on to place in the Top 5 and Top Ten, as well as the numerous preliminary winners. 

Bonn and Holman will both go on to compete at the state-level, in the Miss Kansas Scholarship Competition in June 2022. To learn more about the Miss Kansas and MKSOTeen programs, visit MissKansas.org

Miss Kansas 2021 Competition

Local Girls Participate

Miss Kansas Scholarship competition will be held on July 8-10, 2021 at Pratt Community College in Pratt, Kansas.  

Twenty-three (23) candidates will be competing for the opportunity to represent the state as Miss Kansas 2021.

The Miss El Dorado Ambassador Program is excited to cheer on three of those candidates.

Miss Sunflower Bailey Smith of El Dorado; Miss Southwest Sierra Marie Bonn of El Dorado and Miss Golden Road Katie Brooks of Arkansas City will check in for the arrival ceremony on Wednesday morning and immediately begin the private interview portion of competition with the judges.

Bailey Smith, Miss Sunflower
Katie Brooks, Miss Golden Road
Sierra Marie Bonn, Miss Southwest

Three girls from the Miss El Dorado Ambassador program are participating in the Miss Kansas Sunflower Royalty Program this year. They are Kaydence Dawson, daughter of Chad and Briana Dawson; Janessa Knapp, daughter of Jefferson and Kristi Knapp; and Anastasia Stewart, daughter of Rick and Cara Stewart.

Sunflower Royalty Kaydence Dawson
Sunflower Royalty Janessa Knapp
Sunflower Royalty Anastasia Stewart

The on-stage portion of competition begins with Preliminary Competitions being held on Thursday and Friday nights at 7 p.m.

The Sunflower Royalty program was offered as a virtual or in-person this year event due to covid protocols.

Finals will be held on Saturday, July 10th at 7 p.m. with 11 candidates competing for the job of Miss Kansas 2021.  Finalists are selected based on the ten (10) highest scoring candidates from preliminary judging and one candidate who is selected through online voting.   

Those wishing to watch the competition but unable to attend in person, have the opportunity to view the live stream.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting mko.dpglive.com

BCC ACBSP Business Student Leader Award

Butler DECA President, Mara Stewart, receives annual leadership award

EL DORADO, Kan. – This year’s Butler Community College ACBSP Business Student Leader Award recipient is Mara Stewart of El Dorado. Stewart was nominated by Marketing Department Chair Jared McGinley. 

Butler Community College Marketing student, Mara Stewart was recognized for the Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Business Student Leader Award.

The Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) developed the Business Student Leadership Award to recognize excellence in business student leadership. Butler business faculty nominate students they feel exemplify business leadership. Faculty then review applications and select the recipient. Recipients are presented a plaque as well as have their name placed on a perpetual plaque on Butler’s campus.  

Stewart, a May 2021 associate degree graduate, was very involved at Butler. She entered Butler on a scholarship for singing and dancing with the Butler Headliners, worked as an intern for Butler’s College Relations & Marketing Department, was an Order of the Gold recipient achieving a 4.0 GPA, and served as President of Collegiate DECA, a professional business fraternity. 

Her involvement in school activities led her to attend numerous conferences and seminars to improve business and leadership skills, tour various businesses, and compete in business case competitions. Over the past two years at the Kansas Collegiate DECA State Conference, she placed first in Event Planning with partner Beth Walker, first in Business Ethics with partner Sophia Dawson, and individually placed third in Travel and Tourism.  

As President of Collegiate DECA, Stewart was active in fundraising, as well as organizing and leading weekly meetings. Stewart also organized and led a Leadership Development Conference for all the Kansas DECA college chapters in the state, and helped plan, organize, and lead a trip to Kansas City where the chapter met with the marketing team of Sporting Kansas City.  

In addition to her studies and involvement on the Butler campus, Stewart has worked at two additional jobs, and regularly volunteered at her church. Stewart plans to continue her studies to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Marketing at Oklahoma Christian University.  

Kansas Association of Broadcasters Awards

I want to highlight the Butler Community College Mass Communication program (I hope it doesn’t sound too much like bragging).

Pictured, from left to right, Madeline Reida, Tucker Ashburn, Ross Cole, Kameron Buss and Deanna Bonn.

We have amazing opportunities at Butler Community College for young (and not so young) people who want to learn about and/or develop their skillset in media production (or any field, honestly).

I graduated with a degree in Marketing in 1999. And spent much of my time in promotion for non-profit. I developed a passion for telling the stories of our community (in audio, video and written formats) partly as a way to improve my brain health after a difficult battle with memory loss and cognitive impairment.

When I returned to school in 2019, it was to help me improve those skills.In these past two years, I have had the privilege of working with faculty and staff both in and out of the radio and television stations. Not only did I receive hands on training but the confidence to get out of the classroom and make my mark on the world through the stories I tell.

This post isn’t about me, while I am proud of my work and will continue to grow and improve, my heart lies in helping our next generation find their voice and tell the stories that resonate with them.

My goals have always aligned with giving them a platform and a megaphone through whatever medium(s) they choose. My love of El Dorado gave me a unique perspective of the need for industry that will recruit and retain those voices in our community.

Everyday El Dorado was my answer to that void. The Mass Communication program at Butler provides students with real-world experience and the confidence to pursue their dreams. Please feel free reach out to me if you (or someone you know) are interested in learning more about the program, how you can improve your story telling through multi-media, or if I can assist you in telling those stories. I would love to help you!

Congratulations, to all the students for their great Kansas Association of Broadcasters accomplishments, but more importantly, to the program and the instructors who pour their hearts into it.