Meet your Miss Tri-Cities 2020
McKenzie Kennedy just knew this was going to be her year.
Kennedy was selected the new Miss Tri-Cities on Saturday, after four years of competing in the scholarship program.
“That moment when I actually won, I was in complete and utter shock. I was really surprised it actually happened and overwhelmed with joy. I was a crying mess,” Kennedy said.
She was happy her time had come, but, more than that, she was grateful she got to celebrate with her family and friends who have rooted for her since the beginning.
The 24-year-old will now get the opportunity to compete for the title of Miss Washington next summer.
Lacey Fisher, 16, was also crowned Saturday as Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen.
Passion for the arts
Kennedy believes every contestant has their own reason for why they love pageants, but for her, it’s giving back to the community.
“Every year I’ve come back because I love this program and I love what it means — going out into the community,” Kennedy said.
Since her passion lies with the arts, she ran on the platform of creating an arts-centered Tri-Cities. She performed the French song “La Vie en Rose” for the talent section and gave an impassioned statement about the power of art.
“I’ve always had that creative juice flowing out of me,” said Kennedy, a Kamiakin High grad. “Throughout high school, I kind of struggled a lot ... theater, for me, was the area I loved, and it was my biggest getaway.”
She hopes that improving the artistic landscape of the Tri-Cities will enrich the lives of community members. She already has years of volunteering under her belt — she is a city of Kennewick arts commissioner and a board member of the Richland Players.
However, her ultimate goal is to open her own theater company.
Money for college
Aside from winning the $12,000 title, Kennedy was also awarded the Top Interview and the Health and Wellness Scholarship. Combined, her scholarships add up to $15,500.
The scholarships will let her graduate college debt-free, she said.
She will finish her bachelor’s degree from Columbia Basin College in project management next year. After that, she plans to use a portion of the prize money to do an online master’s program in business administration.
While the money is a bonus, the Miss Tri-Cities competition has not just given her scholarships — it’s given her friendships and skills that will last forever.
She said people should know that the Miss Tri-Cities competition is not for only one type of woman.
“It’s for anybody. If I can do it, anybody can do it.”