A University of Kentucky sophomore and 2016 graduate of South Laurel High School was named Miss NIBROC 2017 Saturday night — the 65th woman to win the honor of wearing the Miss NIBROC crown.
Emily Grace Sharp, daughter of Ronda Sharp and the late Dave Sharp, was graceful and elated following Saturday night’s scholarship pageant, held at the Corbin High School auditorium.
“It’s amazing! Just to be able to represent my hometown at Miss Kentucky is the best feeling in the world,” she said. “It’s not something I’ve ever been able to do before.”
Miss NIBROC became a qualifying preliminary pageant for the Miss Kentucky Scholarship pageant for the first time last year. Miss NIBROC 2016 Makenna Thibodeaux was the first winner of the pageant to ever compete at Miss Kentucky as its representative.
Sharp has been a contestant at the Miss Kentucky pageant the last two years as winner of other area pageants. She said that while the experience gave her confidence going into Saturday’s pageant, she took nothing for granted.
“I knew I had a ton of competition. Every single one of these girls could walk away with the crown,” she said. “Miss NIBROC this year has been a really great experience for me. I was very supportive of everybody, and everybody was very supportive of me. It’s been a great group of girls.”
Sharp’s father passed away last June after a short battle with lung cancer. Her Miss Kentucky platform, called “Take It Easy,” focuses on encouraging people not to smoke and to live healthier lifestyles.
“My dad lost his life much too early,” she said. “I get to share his story as part of my platform. It’s very important to me.”
Sharp joked following the pageant that, as a child, she was a hula-hooping champion at the NIBROC Festival.
“I would have never dreamed in a million years that I’d be standing on this stage as NIBROC Queen,” she said. “It really is special.”
In addition to winning the pageant, Sharp won the interview portion of the event.
Bailee Okuma, of Corbin, was the pageant’s first runner up and also best evening gown. MaKayla Mack, of Williamsburg, was second runner up.
Kris Starns won the award for best swimsuit. Chloe Ingle was named most photogenic. Katelynn Johnson won the Alexandra Hamilton Congeniality Award.
The pageant, along with the NIBROC, is organized every year by the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Bent Chumbley served as Master of Ceremonies. Gail Frederick, owner of the Gail Frederick School of Dance and Gymnastics, produced the pageant for the 35th straight year.