Friday, February 18, 2005

Miss Gay America Pageant move from Arkansas to Mississippi

In a bid for more national exposure, the Arkansas owners of the Miss Gay America Pageant have sold the franchise to a Mississippi company.

The annual pageant has been headquartered in Little Rock for more than three decades. Organizers describe it as the largest and most prestigious female impersonator competition in the nation.

Former owner Norman Jones sold the pageant, its copyright and a smaller circuit of competitions on Feb. 4 to L&T Entertainment, a firm in Nesbit, Miss., about 20 miles south of Memphis.

Jones won the pageant in 1973 as Norma Kristie and afterward started running it out of a Little Rock nightclub that he also owns, but now he says he's ready to move on.

The pageant draws 350 impersonators to pageants across the country to compete for the chance to come to Little Rock. Contestants are scored based on evening gown, creative costume, talent and interview. The winner receives $6,000 in prize money and an estimated $35,000 in earnings from guaranteed booked performances after the coronation.

Terry Eason, co-owner of L&T Entertainment, said he is looking at a couple of different cities for the next October competition.

(I would place my bet on New Orleans.)

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