Aug. 17, 2004 – When Betsy Beretta, 68, decided to enter the Ms. V.I. Senior America Pageant, she did so on a whim, never having participated in a pageant before and not thinking for a moment that she might win.
But win she did. Beretta will be crowned Ms. V.I. Senior America on Aug. 29 at the V.I. Taxi Association Hall in Contant on St. Thomas.
The selection of this year's winner was unique in that no pageant was held.
"In the past we've had regular pageants," Ida White, director of the Ms. V.I. America Pageant, said. "But we just kept having so many problems."
Beretta, a professional photographer on St. Thomas for many years, said only one other contestant signed up to participate and then that individual dropped out after she fell and hurt her back.
"There was nobody up to running against me," Beretta said. The pageant committee decided to go ahead and award her the crown.
The coronation ceremony will be held in conjunction with a fund-raising event for the local Ms. V.I. America organization. It will feature the conferring of an "Order of Chivalry" on 15 men who have assisted the pageant in some way over the years.
The men to be recognized are Larry Benjamin, Robert Boschulte, Simon Caines, Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Nathaniel Freeman, Sen. Louis Hill, Rivo Hodge, John King, Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone, Alex Randall, Kevin Rodriquez, Clarence Scipio, Martin Tuohy, Ian Williams Sr. and Carlos Woods.
Several of the honorees also will take part in a men's fashion show in a portion of the program titled "It's Reigning Men."
As the 2004 Ms. V.I. Senior America, Beretta will represent the territory at the national Senior America Pageant, to be held Nov. 7-13 in Las Vegas. She said she is looking forward to the event, although she has never performed in a live pageant before.
"The only experience I've had performing is taking wedding photographs, if you can call it that," she said. But, she added, "it's all about having fun."
Tickets for the Aug. 29 event are $20. They're available on St. Thomas at both Modern Music shops and at V.I. Bridal in Tutu Park Mall.
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