KENNEWICK -- With her heart pounding, Kailee Dunn waited for three long seconds and kept telling herself any one of the contestants could be named Miss Tri-Cities 2011.
But when the audience at Kennewick High School's Art Fuller Auditorium broke the anticipation with loud cheers, the 19-year-old daughter of Jim and Dianne Dunn realized she had won the title in the 51st annual Miss Tri-Cities Scholarship Pageant.
"It was an amazing feeling," said Dunn, a 2010 Kamiakin graduate, who was one of nine young women vying for the honor.
Moments earlier Ashley Davis, 18, of Pasco was named first runner-up, and Rebecca Spaniel, 22, of Kennewick was chosen second runner-up.
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Star Hinojosa, 18, of Kennewick was third runner-up and Alexandra Jackson, 20, of Kennewick was fourth runner-up.
Dunn received the crown following a three-hour pageant that had the contestants doing various musical and dance routines, and required them to do on-stage interviews. They also had to demonstrate their on stage confidence wearing evening gowns and swimwear.
Dunn said she had grown up always looking up to each Miss Tri-Cities, not thinking that she, too, would join that elite group.
"It's such a blessing. I am so grateful," she said back stage minutes after being honored and while surrounded by the other contestants.
Dunn, wore a salmon evening gown while Adrienne Bousquet, Miss Tri-Cities 2010, nestled the tiara atop her head and light brown wavy hair.
Approximately 400 people attended the program.
For her talent entry, Dunn dressed as the flower girl in the Broadway play, My Fair Lady, and sang Wouldn't It Be Lovely.
The judges required her to do it a second time because the microphone system failed on the first try even though she pressed on. The redo pleased the audience.
Judges considered the talent competition as one-third the weight of each contestant's score.
First runner-up Davis' dance routine to Footloose was full of innovative choreography and smiles, which also wowed the audience.
Dunn's chosen cause was servant leadership, which she defined as "putting other's before one's self," as modeled by Jesus, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.
"My purpose is to make people aware of others in need, of how they can have influence over others and how they, too, can be a positive leader," Dunn wrote in her essay to the judges.
Dunn will receive a $10,000 scholarship as Miss Tri-Cities 2011, and Davis will receive a $5,000 scholarship as first runner-up.
Spaniel will receive $2,500; Hinojosa will receive $1,200; and Jackson will receive $800.
Jackson also was honored with the $500 Anita Nelson Memorial Scholarship; the $500 Living Your Platform Award; and the $200 Spirit Award.
Spaniel received the Miss Congeniality Award; Shanice Butts received the Four Points of the Crown Award for best representing the values of the Miss America Programs, as well as the People's Choice Award for her talent performance; and Katie Bair won the $400 Academic Achievement Award.