Contestants in the Miss Mississippi pageant, including Miss Meridian Ashley Buckley and Miss New South, Misty Rea, are rehearsing this week in Vicksburg.
The theme this year salutes the Mississippi River and the blues. Some of the 39 young women in the pageant are back to compete again.
"It is very exciting, but it's bittersweet at the same time because you get so close, yet so far away," said MUW student Robyn Davis, who was second runner-up to Jennifer Adcock in 2002. "So the main thing I focus on is that I'm getting scholarships every year. That just helps me further my education with graduate school."
Mississippi traditionally leads the nation in scholarship money. More than $110,000 will be awarded.