As the 12 contestants for the Miss Nevada Scholarship Pageant parade countless times in their swimwear during rehearsals this week and watch each other perform their talents over and over again, reigning Miss Nevada Christina O'Neil said it's hard not to compare to others.
"You see everybody else and those doubts start to go through your head," she said. "It makes me nervous all over again to watch them."
And, according to her experience, the worst may be yet to come.
"The worst part for me was standing up there waiting for them to announce the winners," she recalled.
"I was ready to pass out at that point. Up until then, there was always something else to concentrate on, but in that moment there was nothing else I could do."
Young women from across the state are spending the week touring the capital and attending a variety of functions in the area.
For Miss UNR Chelsea Bibb, competing in this year's pageant is an opportunity to return to her hometown, where she graduated from Carson High School in 1999.
"I grew up dancing and singing here on this stage," she said waiting in the wings of the stage at the Carson City Community Center on Thursday. "To be back in this environment is just comforting and warm."
Along with the activities planned, the contestants are also running through a strict rehearsal schedule.
Miss Carson Valley Lauren Scyphers said the pressure is alleviated by friendships formed.
"The girls are so great," she said.
"Everybody is so supportive of everybody else. It's more like we're competing against ourselves rather than against each other."
With the crowning of a new queen, O'Neil, a music teacher at Empire Elementary School in Carson City, will retire her reign.
"It's bittersweet. This year has been so phenomenal," she said. "At the same time, it's opening up a new chapter for me. I can go back for my master's degree and continue my teaching career."
Contact Teri Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 881-1272.