Whitfield wins second preliminary award at Miss Arkansas Pageant

One of Saline County's two representatives at the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant won her second preliminary award Wednesday night.
Miss Greater Little Rock, Bethany Whitfield of Bryant, tied to win the Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit Preliminary award on Wednesday, the second night of preliminaries at the 75th Anniversary Miss Arkansas Pageant at Summit Arena in Hot Springs.
On Wednesday night, Whitfield won the pageant's Preliminary Artistic Expression in Talent award.
Whitfield, 23, tied for the swimsuit honor with Sarah Elise Gafvert, Miss Northwest Arkansas.
Saline County's other representative in the pageant, Tracy Neal of Bryant, tied Wednesday night for the evening gown award, which is called the "Preliminary Presence and Poise in Evening Gown Award."
Neal, 22, is competing as Miss University of Arkansas.
This is Whitfield's fourth attempt at the crown and Neal's second.
Each of the winners of preliminary awards receives an $800 scholarship provided by The Hatcher Agency, an anonymous donor and Venue.
Whitfield, 23, is a second-year law student at the University of Arkansas and is the daughter of Donald and Tanya Whitfield of Bryant.
For her talent presentation, she sang "Somewhere" from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story." She is slated for the evening gown competition tonight.
Neal, 22, is a second-year graduate student at the University of Arkansas and the daughter of Todd and Tonya Neal of Bryant. She competed Thursday night in the talent phase and is scheduled for swimsuit competition tonight.
Another contestant with local ties is Erin Larsen, Miss University of Central Arkansas. She is the daughter of Dr. Brent and Danise Larsen of Cabot, formerly of Benton. Her grandparents, Claude and Maxine Coffey and Dub and Patricia Larsen, are Benton residents.
Larsen competed in swimsuit Wednesday night and the evening gown phase Thursday night. She will compete tonight in the talent category.
Miss Arkansas 2007 Katie Bailey-Harris of Conway performed in the Thursday night show.
Also entertaining was the newly crowned Miss Arkansas’ Outstanding Teen 2012, Laura Leigh Turner of North Little Rock. She performed a tap dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” that helped her win the overall talent award at Miss Arkansas’ Outstanding Teen just a few weeks ago. 
Turner will represent Arkansas at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant in Orlando next month.
Competition continues at 7 tonight with the final night of preliminaries. Final competition is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday and will include the naming of the Top 10 semi-finalists.
A 6:30 p.m. pre-show Saturday is a tribute to Buddy Coleman and the Coleman Family (namesake of the Overall Talent Award). The reigning Miss Arkansas and Miss America Quality of Life Finalist Kristen Glover are scheduled to crown the new Miss Arkansas.
For tickets to the remaining preliminary competition or the final night, go to www.ticketmaster.com or visit the Summit Arena box office.  For more information about the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant, visit www.missarkansas.org.
The pageant is seen live on www.misssarkansas.org.