Miss Shelby County chosen Bedwell to represent county

Crystal Bedwell is the new Miss Shelby County.

She was crowned last week at Chelsea High School.

Bedwell, 20, has been competing in the Miss Shelby County pageant since she was 16. She could not compete officially that year, 1999, but chose to go through the program for the experience.

Bedwell was also the Talent Winner in last Friday’s program, wowing the crowd with her clogging talents to Aretha Franklin’s &uot;Think.&uot;

The pageant, presented by the Columbiana Vignette Club, was held last Friday and emceed by newly crowned Miss Alabama Catherine Crosby. She was aided by last year’s Miss Shelby County Whitney Weldon. The 17th annual pageant was sponsored by the First National Bank of Shelby County, the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce, Baptist Health Systems, BellSouth and Jim Jackson.

A Huntingdon College student, Bedwell wore a black velvet evening gown with a

rhinestone choker collar for the competition.

She chose as her platform, the Camp Newhope program, which she created while she was in high school.

Bedwell’s parents were both diagnosed with cancer while she was young, and her dream was to create a place of comfort for the children and loved ones of those who have been affected by cancer.

Camp Newhope was that dream, a place, Bedwell said, where children can enjoy &uot;a carefree day of sharing and fun.&uot;

The competitor said she has learned to handle disappointment.

&uot;I try to go into everything with a positive attitude and know that with faith in God, he’ll get me through,&uot; she said during the pageant.

Bedwell is the daughter of Chuck and Carmen Bedwell of Chelsea.

Her first official appearance as Miss Shelby County will be at this weekend’s Liberty Day celebration in Columbiana, during which she will sign autographs at city hall and ride in the parade down Main Street on Saturday afternoon.

Her year will culminate in 2004 with the Miss Alabama pageant, a preliminary to the Miss America Scholarship Program.

As Miss Shelby County, Bedwell

receives $8,780 in gifts and scholarships including a $6,000 tuition scholarship to Jefferson State Community College, a $1,000 tuition scholarship to the University of Montevallo, $1,000 from Alabama Power Company, $500 from the Vignette Club of Columbiana, $125 from Barton Clay Jewelers, $50 from Rep. Jim McClendon, $25 from Judge Hub Harrington, a $50 savings bond from First Commercial Bank, a $30 gift certificate from Limestone Spa & Boutique and a one-hour Swedish massage from Secret Garden Day Spa.

As the talent winner, she received $100 from Lowe & Associates Realty and $75 from Seventh Heaven.

Chosen as first alternate was 22-year-old Elizabeth Jamison, who has also competed at the Miss Alabama level.

She received $1,000 in scholarships and gifts including $500 from Jimmy Jackson, $250 from the Novella Club of Columbiana, $100 from Gordon Timberlands, $50 from Robert and Gerie Kelley, a $50 savings bond from Colonial Bank, a $30 gift certificate from Limestone Spa & Boutique, a $20 gift certificate from the Fish Market Restaurant of Riverchase and a half-hour Swedish massage from Secret Garden Day Spa.

Sunday Vanderver, 21, also a Miss Alabama competitor, was second alternate; Lauryn Moon, 17, was third alternate; and Hilary Gowens, 18, was fourth alternate.

Vanderver received $250 from ITT Technical Institute, $250 from Regions Bank, $100 from Rep. Jimmy Martin, a $30 gift certificate from Limestone Spa & Boutique, a $20 gift certificate from the Fish Market Restaurant of Riverchase and a half-hour Swedish massage from Secret Garden Day Spa.

Moon received $100 in gifts from Cahaba Title Insurance Co., ALAGASCO, Rep. Jim Carns, Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin and Sen. Jabo Waggoner, a $30 gift certificate from Limestone Spa & Boutique, a $20 gift certificate from the Fish Market Restaurant of Riverchase and a half-hour Swedish massage from Secret Garden Day Spa. Gowens received $100 gifts from County Commissioner Lindsey Allison, Sen. Steve French, Rep. Mike Hill and Donald Real Estate as well as a $30 gift certificate from Limestone Spa & Boutique, a $20 gift certificate from the Fish Market Restaurant of Riverchase and a half-hour Swedish massage from Secret Garden Day Spa.

Swimsuit winner was Amber Lewis, 18. She received $100 from the Culture Club of Columbiana and $25 from Judge Patti Smith