Third time's a charm for new Miss New Hampshire
DERRY - Gilford resident Megan Lyman was crowned Miss New Hampshire for 2012 during an emotional competition at the Stockbridge Theatre on Saturday evening.
Competing on the Miss New Hampshire stage for the third year in a row, Lyman was poised and ready to move to the next level and will represent the Granite State in next year's Miss America pageant.
'I feel like I'm prepared this year,' Lyman told master of ceremonies and WMUR anchor Jamie Staton when she was announced as one of five finalists.
It was the 66th annual Miss New Hampshire contest. Lyman impressed the judges and the audience with her tap dance performance of the Duke Ellington classic 'Take the 'A' Train.'
Competing as Miss Lakes Region, Lyman came out on top of an impressive group of five finalists, who also included Miss Rockingham County Megan Cooley, Miss Weirs Beach Julia Neveu, Miss Stratham Fair Sarah Mousseau and Miss Deerfield Fair Erica Millett, the first runner-up.
Lyman was presented her crown by 2011 Miss New Hampshire Regan Elizabeth Hartley, who also served as a master of ceremonies for the show and sang 'Edge of Glory' in her last official appearance as the reigning Miss New Hampshire.
It was also an emotional night for William Haggerty, who has been involved and produced the annual show for more than 40 years.
This was Haggerty's final year as the production editor, and he choked up when it was announced that the annual overall talent competition will now be known as the William J. Haggerty Overall Talent Competition Award.
Neveu took home the inaugural trophy for her jazz en pointe performance of 'America'' from 'West Side Story.'
There was a sold-out crowd at the Stockbridge Theatre for the finals of the contest. After two nights of preliminary competition on Thursday and Friday, the 27 competitors were winnowed down to the field of 12 semifinalists.
'The first two nights were awesome,' said Miss New Hampshire Executive Director Brenda Keith. 'We were close to sold out both nights.'
Preliminary awards were handed out on Thursday evening to Miss Kearsarge Valley Katrina Ulaky in the swimsuit competition and to Cooley in the talent competition.
On Friday night, the preliminary winners were Miss Strafford County Lauren Carter in the swimsuit competition and Neveu in the talent competition.
Each of the winners of the preliminary awards received a $250 scholarship, highlighting that the competition is the No. 1 source for women's scholarships in the state.
Overall, $70,000 in scholarships was handed out over the course of the competition, with Lyman taking home a $13,000 scholarship.