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Miss Kentucky, first runner up both have Bowling Green ties

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 9:53 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WBKO) - After taking a year off in 2020 because of COVID-19, the Miss Kentucky competition resumed over the weekend. Titleholders from both 2019 and 2020 competed.

Haley Wheeler of Clay City, Kentucky, which is in Powell County, won the title of Miss Kentucky, and Chapel Tinius of Bowling Green won the first runner up.

“Each year I competed, I learned something new about myself, and I really learned about what I had to bring to the table on why I could do this job as Miss Kentucky,” Wheeler said. “So it’s very satisfying, but it’s so humbling too.”

Wheeler was crowned Miss Bowling Green 2020 which qualified her to compete in Miss Kentucky. She attended WKU for her undergrad and graduate degrees and was also a WKU Cheerleader.

“I’ll always be a Hilltopper, I’m so proud to have gone to Western,” she said.

This was Tinius’ first time competing in Miss Kentucky. She was crowned Miss Kentucky Outstanding Teen in 2016.

“The ultimate goal was to be able to compete for Miss Kentucky, and so this is my first year competing, and I’m very grateful to have placed the first runner up and also walked away with the newcomer award, a preliminary onstage interview award, and also I was named top five for the quality of life award this year,” Tinius said.

Both wheeler and Tinius said one of their favorite parts about the week was getting to meet new people and see familiar faces along the way.

Haley Wheeler is also a singer and sang ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ during the talent portion of the competition. For the social impact initiative portion of the contest, Wheeler’s project was titled A Stitch of Hope: Alzheimer’s Awareness.

“It started as a bit of a tribute to my great grandfather’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease many years ago, but it has since transpired into a project where I try to bridge the gaps between generations of younger people such as myself, and also the older generation,” Wheeler explained.

“Those people have a lot to offer. They’re veterans, they were scientists, they’ve done so much for us, and I think it’s important to teach younger people to give back because I grew up visiting my grandparents almost every weekend, so I know the value of elderly people and what they bring to the table,” she added.

Haley Wheeler will now go on to represent Kentucky in the Miss America competition in December. She will be able to do in-person visits to schools and other events. You can request her attendance by emailing missky@gmail.com

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