Twenty-two young ladies will be vying for a crown on Saturday night as the Miss Grand Lake Pageant gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at the Grove Middle School auditorium.

The Miss Grand Lake Pageant is one of the most prestigious pageants in the state boasting seven winners going on be named Miss Oklahoma and one being crowned Miss America.

“That tells you something about the women of Oklahoma,” said Pageant Director Jeanne Whitely.

“We have a good group of girls this year, and several new ones, I like the freshness of the new girls,” Whitely said.

The pageant is an open pageant which, according to Whitely, means that it is open to any girl in the state of Oklahoma. The contestants must be residents of Oklahoma or must be attending school in Oklahoma.

The Miss Outstanding Teen Pageant will also be held in conjunction with the Miss Grand Lake Pageant and is also a preliminary to the Miss Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teen contest and then to the national event. In fact, the winner of 2011 America’ Outstanding Teen is 17 year old Lacey Cordell from Cordell, Oklahoma.

The pageants are a part of the Miss America Organization, the nations leading achievement program and the world’s largest provider of scholarship assistance for women.

Judges for this year’s pageant will be Deanna Wride, formerly of Grove who has directed the Miss Los Angeles and Miss Hollywood pageants.

Charlie VanDeWiele, Tulsa, who is on the board and the production staff of the Miss Oklahoma pageant.

Hal Heath, a retired, accomplished music professor who now lives in Grove.

Bob Piland, Tulsa, has worked with the Miss Oklahoma Pageant for many years.

Jerry Jackson, Tulsa, director of the Miss Tulsa Pageant.

The Miss Grand Lake pageant is in its 40th year and committee members cite the faithful support of the businesses and citizens of Grove and the Grand Lake area for its success.

“In today’s economy, this assistance is even more valuable and needed than ever before. Whatever we can do here changes lives and in turn those lives go on to change other lives as future teachers, doctors, businessmen and women and parents of the next generation who are America’s future,” said Whitely.

Outstanding Teen contestants include young ladies ages 13-17 and are required to be a senior in high school or less. The Miss Grand Lake contestants are required to be 17-24 years of age and both pageants require that the contestants must never have been married.

Contestants will begin arriving on Friday evening and Whitely says she will be sending the parents and families of the 22 girls out to shop giving the local merchants a large influx of shoppers on Saturday.

“It gives them something to do while the girls are getting ready and rehearsing,” she said.

More than $8 million dollars have been made available and nearly 10,000 women have participated in the Miss Oklahoma program in state and local competitions since The Kiwanis Club of Tulsa started sponsoring the pageant in 1972. Last year, more than $45 million in scholarships was offered to the contestants of the Miss America Pageant system.

Tickets will be available at the door and will cost $10 for adults and $5 for children.