Miss Nevada to have crown after all | NevadaAppeal.com

Miss Nevada to have crown after all

MARTIN GRIFFITH
Associated Press Writer

RENO – Miss Nevada will have a crown at her coronation Saturday after all.

An apologetic volunteer, not a thief, was to blame for the disappearance of the crown that turned up late Friday afternoon at a Reno alteration shop, said pageant organizer Teresa Benitez-Thompson.

Unbeknownst to pageant organizers, the volunteer misplaced the crown in a small box that accompanied other boxes and hanging bags of clothes to the business Thursday.

Organizers originally thought the crown, almost identical to the one worn by Miss America, was stolen from the locked Reno hotel room of a pageant board member.

But Benitez-Thompson said they realized their mistake after having volunteers retrace their steps and finding the box with the crown behind a planter at the shop.

“The volunteer is so embarrassed. She loves the pageant and couldn’t be any more apologetic,” she told The Associated Press.

“We sincerely thought an unauthorized person had the crown. Our belief in mankind has been affirmed with its discovery,” she added.

The crown, valued at $400, is fitted with rhinestones.

It had arrived earlier Thursday from K.A. Concepts, the official maker of Miss America crowns.

Benitez-Thompson said the company makes one crown for each state, and getting a replacement before Saturday night would have been impossible.

As a backup, a former Miss Nevada arranged to loan her crown for the event.

Until the crown surfaced, Circus Circus hotel-casino security were investigating the case. They went through security tapes and checked room keys.

“I was so nervous we wouldn’t have a crown, and I didn’t get any sleep last night. But we have our crown and couldn’t be happier,” said Benitez-Thompson, Miss America pageant director for the state and Miss Nevada 2002.

Twelve women will vie for the title.