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Miss Teen Northwest -- new pageant for girls age 13 to 16

With the continued success of the Miss Northwest Pageant, organizers are adding a Miss Teen Pageant this year.

Girls ages 13-16 are welcome to compete for the Miss Teen title. This year it is just for local recognition, but if it's successful, in the next year or two, the Jaycees will likely buy the Miss Outstanding Teen franchise and the local winner can compete at the state level.

"We've had an interest in teen, and that's why we're thinking about going with it," organizer Cindy Moore said. "We're ready to start and work our way forward."

Likely another reason for the extra interest in a Miss Teen pageant is because the Miss Polar Fest pageant was on hold this year.

"I think teens are looking for something else," Moore said. "So we will start the teen pageant this year just as a local pageant and see where it goes and how it develops."

More than likely, it will be a year or two before the Jaycees purchase the franchise. That franchise is a fee for the Miss Northwest or Miss Teen pageants to be under the Miss Minnesota and Miss America umbrella. Girls can advance from local to state to national levels to earn more and more scholarships.

"We just want to make sure we're going to have the number of teens we'd like to have before we invest a lot of money," Moore said of buying the franchise for Miss Teen. "We'd like to grow the program a little bit and see how it goes."

She said they average eight contestants for the Miss program and would like to see the same number for the Miss Teen pageant.

Whoever wins the Miss Teen title this year could opt to pay her own way into the Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen competition.

The teen program can help build the Miss Northwest program as well by getting girls interested and experienced earlier.

The Miss Teen borders aren't as far stretched as the Miss Northwest ones for participants, but the teen girls can be from Detroit Lakes, Frazee, Lake Park or Audubon.

One other difference is that the teen pageant girls will compete in active wear instead of swimsuit. They will also have talent, personal wear and evening gown categories like the Miss Northwest.

The two pageants will be held the same night during Water Carnival.

Though the Water Carnival and Miss Northwest Pageant isn't until July, Moore said she's already had some interest in the Miss Northwest Pageant.

"We've had a few people contact us about the Miss Northwest competition, so we're started with the process already," she said.

The Miss Northwest Scholarship Pageant is seeking contestants for the pageant, which is July 13. Contestants must be age 17-23 and a U.S. citizen.

Moore said that Miss Northwest 2012 Siri Freeh has been so public that it's really helped bring awareness to the competition.

"She has been so out and about and done so many appearances that I think that's sparked some interest."

For more information or to sign up for either Miss Northwest or Miss Teen, contact Cindy Moore at 334-2321. The deadline is June 17.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.