Douglas sends half-dozen beauties to Vegas |

Douglas sends half-dozen beauties to Vegas

by Caryn Haller

With an interview coach, personal trainer and choreographer Miss Douglas County Alisa Merino is taking no chances when it comes to preparing for this year's competition.

The Miss Nevada pageant is May 31-June 1 in Las Vegas.

"Being Miss Douglas County has been wonderful. It's everything I expected and more," 22-year-old Merino said. "I knew it would take hard work and dedication, but it was worth it. I'm just happy to be part of the experience."

Since winning the county title in January, Merino has been busy promoting her platform of suicide prevention. She has attended DARE graduations and suicide prevention fundraisers, spoken at driver safety courses and worked with Austin's House.

Merino is competing against 11 other misses for the state title, and is most concerned about the onstage question segment of the pageant.

"It's so random, and puts you on the spot," she said. "You have to answer the question in front of hundreds of people and maintain composure."

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Her favorite part she said was working with her outstanding teen, Carli Gumm.

"I've never been a big sister," she added. "It's a good experience holding her accountable and being her mentor and being accountable myself."

For Miss Douglas County Outstanding Teen Carli Gumm, 13, having the title has taught her a lot about herself.

"I've learned to be confident when speaking in public, and the four points of the crown; service, style, scholarship and success," the Carson Valley Middle Schooler said. "I knew some of it would happen, but seeing the effects it had on me I didn't expect. I didn't think I'd learn so much."

Wanting to be a biomedical engineer someday, Carli chose science, technology, engineering and math education for girls as her platform.

"I want to expand my platform across the state," she said.

For her talent, Carli is performing a musical theater dance.

"I have an aerial in this dance, which is a cartwheel with no hands," she said. "I just learned it two weeks ago. It's the trickiest part of my dance."

Miss Northern Counties, Bailey Gumm, is no stranger to competition.

This is the 2013 Douglas High graduate's seventh pageant and fifth title.

"I love this organization and that's why I've been in it so long," she said. "I love my community and any chance to give back is a pleasure."

Bailey, 18, just finished her first year at Westminster College in Utah. The school allowed her to take her finals two weeks early so she could fulfill her title obligations.

"My school is on board with everything I'm doing. They support me," she said. "It's been great. I felt I got a good education and am excited to go back in the fall."

Since being home, Bailey has made several appearances promoting her platform of autism awareness.

She's been working with the Children's Miracle Network, Families for Effective Autism Treatment and the Autism Coalition of Nevada. She has also organized swim days at Carson Valley Swim Center for children with autism.

"It's an honor to represent the one out of 68 kids diagnosed with autism and their families," Bailey said. "I want to expand my platform not only statewide, but nationwide."

This pageant is especially meaningful for Bailey, she said, because she gets to share the experience with her younger sister, Carli.

"I cried more when Carli was crowned (outstanding teen) than she did," Bailey added. "I've experienced what this organization provides for women, so for Carli to experience it also is remarkable."

Valley residents Coraleigh Bales is competing for Miss Silver State, Shreyla Kosla is competing for Miss Lake Tahoe and Macie Tuell is competing for Miss Sparks Outstanding Teen.

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