Beauty may only be skin deep, but beauty pageants go a lot deeper, right to the heart of what makes us Americans. We don't just love the Miss America pageant, we love everything leading up to it, from Miss Ohio all the way down to Miss Drumsticks.Check out some of America's more unusual beauty pageants.
First up: Miss Drumsticks
Every October, Yellville, Arkansas, gets ready for Thanksgiving with two days worth of turkey-related fun and games, culminating with the selection of Miss Drumsticks. Contestants are judged on their legs only, with their faces and bodies hidden behind a picture of a turkey, so as not to influence the judges. The prize is nothing to shake a tail feather at -- past winners have received trips to Los Angeles to compete on game shows and to New York for appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Miss Klingon Empire
Beam me down, Scotty, there's a Miss Klingon Empire beauty pageant held every year in September at the Star Trek Convention at Dragon*Con in Atlanta. Contestants assume the persona of a female Klingon character from any Star Trek TV series or movie. The Klingon babes are judged on beauty, personality, and talent, which includes singing and dancing but no planetary destruction allowed. Winners receive a trophy, a tiara, and a satin sash outlined in blue and green -- the official colors of the Klingon Empire.
Mr. or Ms. Mosquito Legs
To become Miss America, contestants need good-looking legs, but to win the title of Mr. or Ms. Mosquito Legs, guys and gals need skinny legs. Clute, Texas, hosts the pageant as part of the Great Texas Mosquito Festival, held each July. Anyone attending the festival is eligible to strut their skinny legs in short shorts for the honor of being named Mr. or Ms. Mosquito Legs.
Miss Sweet Corn Queen
It's tough buttering up judges who are buttering their sweet corn, but that's the task of competitors in the Miss Sweet Corn Queen pageant held each August in Mendota, Illinois. Local high-school girls compete for the coveted title and a place of honor in the parade held at one of the largest harvest festivals in the Midwest.
Miss Exotic World
True practitioners of the dance form known as the striptease flock to the Exotic World Burlesque Museum and Striptease Hall of Fame in Las Vegas every Memorial Day weekend for the annual Miss Exotic World Pageant. Ranging in age from 18 to 80, these burlesque beauties flirt with the judges with smiles, winks, and teases. The winner of the Miss Exotic World pageant gets a trophy and the right to be called the Miss America of Burlesque.
The Armpit Queen
In Battle Mountain, Nevada, nobody raises a stink about the Armpit Beauty Pageant. After humorist Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post dubbed Battle Mountain "the armpit of America" for its "lack of character and charm," the small town's residents turned the joke into an annual celebration of all things smelly every August. Sweaty T-shirt contests, deodorant throws, and a "quick-draw" antiperspirant contest lead up to the selection of the Armpit Queen. The pageant and festival are sponsored by Old Spice deodorant and draw an estimated 3,500 visitors with signs along the highway proclaiming: "Make Battle Mountain Your Next Pit Stop."
Helen Davies, Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen