ARLINGTON — “And Miss Texas 2009 is Kristen Blair, Miss North Texas.”
Blair, 22, of Southlake had dazzled the audience at Texas Hall at the University of Texas at Arlington with her vocal range while singing an aria from a Puccini opera.
Miss Carrollton, DaNae Couch, was named first runner-up. Other top finishers were Miss Grapevine, Ashley Melnick, second runner-up; Miss Fort Worth, Faith Bates, third runner-up; and Miss Frisco, Kathryn Dunn, fourth runner-up.
Last year, Blair was fourth runner-up as Miss Fort Worth.
Before Miss Texas was announced, Taylor Lowery, 16, of Lufkin was named Miss Teen Texas 2009.
The pageant began at 8 p.m. with talent displays, including ventriloquism, baton-twirling, dancing and singing.
Miss Texas was crowned about 11:30 p.m.
Relinquishing her title was Miss Texas 2008, Rebecca Robinson, a Texas A&M graduate who speaks four languages.
As part of Friday’s entertainment, a video was shown of Robinson reading to schoolchildren in historic spots throughout Fort Worth. The video was produced by United Way as part of its “Live United” campaign.
The last Miss Fort Worth to become Miss Texas was Morgan Matlock in 2005. Before her, Molly Grubb was crowned in 1967.
Blair said her hobbies are music, as well as traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Along with her title, the new Miss Texas wins a $12,000 scholarship and a chance to compete in the Miss America pageant.
Organizers are already working on next year’s pageant, which will be the 75th celebration of the Miss Texas pageant.
“It’s one of the largest self-improvement programs that any young lady has the opportunity to participate in,” said Jean Magness, executive director of the Miss Texas and Miss Teen Texas pageants.
“The guys get to portray their talents on the football field. This is a way for young women to perform their talent on a stage.”
Since Monday, the teens and young women have been competing in the preliminary rounds.
A total of 36 contestants vied for Miss Texas.
The judges were Mansfield Bias Jr., president and executive director of the Miss Georgia organization; Judith Carrier, president of Tarrant County College Southeast Campus in Arlington; David Kendall of the Miss America pageant; Teresa Walsh, interim vice president of the southwest region of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America; Cynde Watson-Richmond, former Miss New Jersey and executive director of Global Makeup Artistry; Jennifer Webb, talent director at Dolphin Entertainment; and David Williams, Emmy-nominated celebrity makeup artist.