With the former and reigning Miss Colorado's calling Grand Junction home, the Grand Valley is becoming the hot spot for state pageant winners. Now, another victory as a 9-year-old from Fruita gets to add her name to that growing list.
Tristany Hightower is a girl who loves to dance, who enjoys cheerleading, and who has gotten pretty good at winning pageants.
"Pageants are fun," said Tristany.
Trisany entered her first pageant when she was just 5. Her family says she was instantly hooked and it's been non-stop ever since.
"She's a very determined little girl," said Cami Hightower, Tristany's mother.
This year, that determination paid off. After just missing the mark in previous years, Tristany was crowned Miss Colorado Pre-Teen 2008 at the National American Miss state competition in Denver.
"I was really excited," said Tristany. "I came back and got to win and I just started to cry, I was so excited."
In addition to winning the title, Tristany took home trophies for most ticket sales, most promising model, best actress, was second runner up in talent, and third runner up for most photogenic. While her mom says the trophies are great, the communication skills and sense of giving the pageants have instilled in her daughter are even better.
"What a better age to start when they're this little, so they have great opportunities when they grow up and use them in real life," said Hightower.
As part of the competition, the girls have to complete a service project. Tristany, who says she's thinking about being a pediatrician when she grows up, wanted to help sick children. She started C-PALZ, an organization that collects letters from kids and sends them to child cancer patients in hospitals.
This past year, she got her third grade class to write letters to kids in a Denver unit. She says her goal is to send letters to kids in all 50 states.
"She everyday just blows me away," said Hightower. "The things she does and when she gets up there, I couldn't ask for any more."
That's not the only goal Tristany says she's determined to make a reality.
"I want to be Miss Colorado and represent Colorado at Miss USA," said Tristany.
Tristany will compete for the National American Miss title this November in Hollywood.