Many little girls dream of being princesses and many boys dream of being heros. This year’s Rabbit Fest, Cove’s largest annual tourism event, will provide the opportunity to make those dreams come true for 18 lucky winners.

After an absence of more than a decade, the traditional beauty pageant is returning to the Copperas Cove Rabbit Fest on May 10 at the Copperas Cove Civic Center. With more than $30,000 in prizes for contestants, the event promises to be a huge success, said Betty Price of the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce.

“We are very pleased that someone was ready to step forward and start the pageant again. We have been receiving a lot of positive feedback from the community about the event,” Price said. “The pageant will build leadership and social skills in the winners as they are required to attend functions and represent not only the Rabbit Fest, but also Copperas Cove.”

Manning Homes is the corporate sponsor for the event. Joan Manning said partnering with the pageant was important to enrich not only Rabbit Fest, but also the community.

“The pageant was a tradition with the festival for many years and it needed to be reinstated. It really is about community service and ensuring Rabbit Fest is not just a carnival,” Manning said. “When approached about sponsoring it, Jay (Manning) and I both decided it was a great thing for the community to have again.”

The pageant is under the direction of Wendy Sledd, a former Mrs. Texas. She has nearly 40 years of pageant experience, winning 13 state titles, a national title and an international title.

“The pageant will be professionally executed and the judging will be fair and impartial,” Sledd said. “All of our judges and auditors will be coming from outside Central Texas. Score sheets will be provided to contestants upon request.”

Sledd is quick to point out that this is more than just a beauty pageant. Monthly community service appearances will be arranged for the winners to work within Copperas Cove representing their titles while improving the city.

“There is no point in winning the crown and then letting it sit on the shelf and collect dust,” Sledd said. “Our new representatives will assist civic groups with fundraisers, attend ribbon cuttings, support nonprofit organizations, and represent Copperas Cove and the festival at events across the state.”

The pageant is open to all females from infants up to senior ladies ages 50 and older. Boys age 8 and younger also may compete.

The new royalty will receive custom-designed crowns, double-satin embroidered banners, flowers and various gifts and prizes.

All contestants also will walk away with a multitude of gifts, including swimming lessons, dance, cheer and gymnastics lessons, salon services, restaurant gift cards, fitness training, gym memberships, cosmetics and a variety of other products.

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