Forty-three young ladies from across Mississippi are in Meridian this week, each with hopes of being the next Mississippi's Junior Miss.
This is the 51st year of the competition. All this week, these ladies are working hard to get ready for Saturday night's big event.
"There's different elements they are going to have to complete during the physical fitness competition and a lot of it is for the show. It just shows stamina, so they're going to have them moving around a lot, dancing, doing jumping jacks. And then of course, the more skilled aspects of fitness such as push-ups, sit-ups and that kind of stuff," said Natalie Pope, Mississippi's Junior Miss 2002.
Pope says the memories of her time as a competitor are still fresh on her mind. She went on to the America's Junior Miss program in Mobile where she was first runner-up.
"The Junior Miss program celebrates the things that are right about today's youth," Pope said. "You're celebrating achievement of good grades, being informed about current events, having a talent, being able to speak in front of people, so this is a great program. Whether these girls come away with the title of Mississippi's Junior Miss or not, this is a great week for them to really challenge themselves."
While working hard to prepare, these ladies will also be taking part in some fun activities such as a visit to Geyser Falls Water Park and several parties. Competition starts Thursday, and Saturday, one of these young ladies will be the new Mississippi's Junior Miss for 2008.