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Union City, Henderson contestants claim Miss UT Martin, Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival pageant titles


Contact 1: Bud Grimes


MARTIN, Tenn. — Morgan Martin, a 20-year-old junior health and human performance student from Union City, claimed the 2018 Miss University of Tennessee at Martin title at the combined Miss UT Martin-Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival Pageant on Saturday, Nov. 11, on the university’s main campus. The pageant was held in the Fine Arts Building’s Harriet Fulton Theatre and is cosponsored by UT Martin and the city of Martin.

For the second year, the Miss UT Martin winner is from Union City, which is also the home of Brenna Wilkins, the 2017 Miss UT Martin titleholder. The Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival crown went to Katie Hodges, 17, of Henderson, a senior at Chester County High School.

The Miss UT Martin Scholarship Pageant is in its 55th year, while the Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival Pageant crowned its 19th titleholder. Only current full-time UT Martin students can compete for the Miss UT Martin crown. Those competing for the Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival title must be West Tennessee residents or enrolled as students in West Tennessee but are not required to be UT Martin students. Both winners now advance to the statewide Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant, held in June at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson.

Martin, a South Fulton High school graduate studying exercise science, is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. Her platform is Wheeling Sportsmen, which raises funds to help make hunting and shooting sports accessible to people with disabilities. “Luckily we go to a school that is really big in agriculture, so I feel like I can really reach out to some of the different agriculture groups (to promote her platform), …” Martin said, who performed a flute solo for the talent portion of the competition. She added, “Right now, I’m just going to try and enjoy the moment, but I’m really looking forward to just being on campus and getting to represent UTM and the student body as best as I can.”

Hodges began competing in pageants at age seven and, in addition to preparing for the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant in June, plans to attend either Harding University in Arkansas or Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson next fall. Her platform, Type One to Type None: Ending Juvenile Diabetes, should benefit from her new pageant title.

“Well, it (the title) is definitely going to get me out there, especially at the (Tennessee) Soybean Festival,” Hodges said, who performed a vocal selection for her talent. “I’ll get to talk to so many kids, and give out bracelets that talk about diabetes on them, and I get to reach out to so many more people because of this title, and I’m so excited.” The pageant experience is also something she will never forget. “All of the girls were so amazing and so sweet and would have done amazing with this title, and I was not expecting it at all, and I’m just so excited and so blessed.”

The Miss UT Martin court was Rachael Friedrich, second runner-up and People’s Choice award winner, and Amanda Mayo, first runner-up. Emily Holder was the Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival second runner-up, and Kara Smith earned first runner-up and was also selected Miss Congeniality.

Katrina Cobb, director of broadcast operations for Public Television Station WLJT, is pageant director and was pleased with this year’s event. “It was a great pageant,” Cobb said after the event. “We had 11 contestants, we had a good crowd here, and we had two beautiful winners.” Her work continues as she will guide both contestants through Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant preparations and will also accompany Martin and Hodges to Jackson during pageant week in June.

The title of Miss Tennessee is a full-time, yearlong position as Gov. Bill Haslam’s official spokesperson for character education and as an ambassador for Tennessee’s Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. The winner of the Miss Tennessee title will advance to the Miss America Scholarship Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., for a chance to serve as Miss America 2019.

For more information about the Miss UT Martin or Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival scholarship pageants, contact Cobb at, or call 731-881-7561.


MARTIN, Tenn., Nov. 12, 2017 – WIN PAGEANT TITLES – Morgan Martin (left), of Union City, and Katie Hodges, of Henderson, claimed the Miss UT Martin and Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival titles, respectively, during the combined pageant Nov. 11 at the University of Tennessee at Martin.


MARTIN, Tenn., Nov. 12, 2017 – PAGEANT COURTS – The Miss UT Martin-Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival Scholarship Pageant courts are pictured following the combined pageant Nov. 11 at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Pictured are (l to r): Emily Holder, Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival second runner-up; Kara Smith, first runner-up and also named Miss Congeniality; and Katie Hodges, 2018 Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival; Morgan Martin, 2018 Miss UT Martin; Amanda Mayo, first runner-up; and Rachael Friedrich, second runner-up and People’s Choice winner.


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