Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson, named first runner-up in the Miss America 2012 pageant, captured fans' attention even before the contestants lined up on stage Saturday night at Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas.
Thompson was voted America's Choice semifinalist, chosen from fans online, and she was the first of 15 contestants named to move forward.
Even before that big announcement, she won the talent competition during Wednesday night's preliminary judging.
An accomplished Irish Step dancer, Thompson performed the spirited number again to the song “Warriors” during the live presentation.
Laura Kaeppeler, Miss Wisconsin, was named Miss America.
Thompson, a petite brunette, is a senior elementary education major at Oklahoma State University.
“Oklahoma should be very, very proud,” said Johnathan Kayne Gillaspie, an Oklahoma City designer who created both her talent costume and evening gown.
“I've been working with Betty, dressing her for the past three years, and she's always been a pleasure,” he said, describing Thompson as a beautiful young lady inside and out.
“She's warm and inviting, and I don't think that Oklahoma could be more proud to have a Miss Oklahoma coming back than Betty,” he said. “She's always very positive and focused on what she needs to do ... to be a smart, beautiful young lady and a role model for other girls.”
Title holders offer support