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Sari Payne, Miss Teen Washoe, realizes longtime goal

by Christina Nelson

For six years, Sari Payne has been competing in the Miss Teen Washoe competition. She’s never won, until this year, that is.

“She’s been going for it since she was 10. Every time they had it, she was always like the bridesmaid, never the bride,” said Marilyn Payne, Sari’s mother.

Sari Payne has been participating in Miss Teen Washoe for so long because she wants to represent her tribe.

“Mainly in memory of my grandmother,” Payne said. “She’s always encouraged and supported me in past pageants.”

The competition was good, Payne said, and she’s friends with many of the girls because they have all been doing it for so long.

The Miss Teen Washoe competition isn’t your usual beauty pageant, Payne said. In fact, it’s not really like any other beauty pageants.

“In thi (pageant), you’re rated on how well you know your tradition and whether you’d be a good representative or not. How you carry yourself, if you hold your head up high,” Payne said.

“They ask where your family comes from and your whole family history. If you don’t know it too well, they mark you down for that.”

“I was excited and so happy. She prepared herself to lose after so many years,” Marilyn Payne said.

Payne, 16, will be a senior at Douglas High School this year and plans to attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., next year.

She decided to go to the academy after visiting the campus for a Native American quiz bowl competition. The participants stayed in dorms and met some of the cadets.

She’s not sure what she wants to major in yet, but she is considering the sciences, she said.