Pageant officials are actively recruiting contestants statewide to represent local and regional preliminary titles at the 41st annual Mrs. Arkansas America Pageant scheduled for Nov. 11 in Hot Springs.


“We invite all married women throughout Arkansas who are interested in participating to claim their local title and begin preparing for competition,” says Lynn DeJarnette, executive director of the Mrs. Arkansas America Pageant.


Mrs. Central Arkansas is one of the regional titles currently available for potential contestant representation this season, as are additional city and county titles such as Mrs. North Little Rock, Mrs. Maumelle, Mrs. Sherwood, Mrs. Jacksonville, Mrs. Carlisle and Mrs. Pulaski County. For details on how to qualify and register as a preliminary titleholder in the Mrs. Arkansas America contestant, visit www.mrsarkansas.org.


“Mrs. Arkansas America should be someone with a servants heart who wants to represent all of the women of Arkansas as they serve their community and state,” explains DeJarnette. “She should be someone who takes care of herself, is approachable and can communicate to others with love and passion for what she is doing. She is a giver, not a taker.”


DeJarnette would know. Before assuming her duties as executive director of the state pageant, DeJarnette was Mrs. Arkansas America 1994.


“Women today have eternal beauty and can compete at any age,” says DeJarnette. “We believe that wisdom and life experiences can only add to a woman’s beauty.”


“When women feel important, needed and beautiful, it can help their self esteem and open them up and into the person they should be, and that helps to make them a happier person in all areas of their lives,” says DeJarnette. “I have seen the lives of so many women changed, including my own, as a result of the pageant experience.”


Presented annually since 1978, the Mrs. Arkansas America Pageant is a direct preliminary to the Mrs. America Pageant. In turn, the Mrs. America Pageant feeds into the Mrs. World Pageant.


“The Mrs. Arkansas Pageant is all about family, and we feel God and family always come first,” says DeJarnette, the mother of two and grandmother of five. She and her husband, Ronnie DeJarnette, have been married for more than 40 years and now live in Hot Springs.


Mrs. Arkansas America 2017 is Kristen Thomas, an elementary school teacher from Crossett who competed last year as Mrs. Southeast Arkansas. Thomas will represent Arkansas this year at the Mrs. America Pageant on August 26 in Las Vegas.


With a platform titled “Farm to Table,” Thomas is using her year of service to travel throughout the state to promote healthier ways to feed America through non-processed foods.


“My title has given me the opportunity to reach even more children throughout the state,” says Thomas. “I am able to educate my students and their parents on the importance of eating healthy and utilizing the resources available in their area.”


Thomas has also been busy making public appearances on behalf of several nonprofit charities, including an annual partnership with CARTI.


“Clay was very supportive in my efforts to become Mrs. Arkansas,” says Thomas, speaking of the husband she met in 2008 and married in 2014. “My husband knew that winning the title would be a year of excitement and he has embraced the journey with me.”


Deadline for registering as a contestant in the 41st annual Mrs. Arkansas America Pageant is Sept. 1. For more information on how to become a qualified preliminary titleholder, visit www.mrsarkansas.org.