Kyndra Vaught of Rotan is crowned Miss Snake Charmer

Rotan High School senior Kyndra Vaught was crowned Miss Snake Charmer 2013 during the Sweetwater Jaycees annual Miss Snake Charmer scholarship pageant Thursday night at the Municipal Auditorium. Vaught is the daughter of Jeff and Tricia Hurt of Rotan and Chance Vaught of Roby.Vaught also won the talent portion of the competition with her rendition of Sara Evans’ “Suds in the Bucket,” which she sang and accompanied herself on guitar.Logan Orozco, a senior at Ballinger High School, was selected as first runner-up by the judges. She is the daughter of Amy Michelle Gallant of Ballinger.The second runner-up was Casey Whoolery-Pratt, a sophomore at Sweetwater High School. She is the daughter of Heath and Misty Whoolery-Pratt of Sweetwater. Whoolery-Pratt was also chosen by her fellow contestants as Miss Congeniality. She showed her congenial personality when she shared with the audience during the evening gown competition that she had moved from Pennsylvania to Sweetwater just last year and pointed out that people made her feel like she had lived here her entire life. She also declared,” I’m not from Texas, but I got here as soon as I could.”Although there were just eight contestants, there was a variety of talent. Orozco interpreted a poem about Texas State Fair while Whoolery-Pratt played “Be Our Guest” on flute.In addition, there was twirling, euphonium playing, and more singing and guitar playing. Contestant Brooklyn Harris of Blackwell paid respect to those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut by singing “Angel” with the names of the victims from the tragedy appearing on screen.Miss Snake Charmer 2012 Kayla Chowning performed a hip-hop dance during the show.Two people were honored during the pageant. Sweetwater Jaycees President Heath Cornutt and Jaycee Rodney Kinsey presented a plaque to the children of the late Terry Wells. The 2013 Rattlesnake Roundup has been dedicated to Wells. Wells, who died last March, was a long-time Jaycee and served as Jaycee Rooster president.Murl Montgomery, who could not be in attendance, was honored for his hard work and dedication to the Sweetwater Municipal Auditorium and his part in past pageants.There were a couple more surprises for the night. Miss Texas DaNae Couch was in the audience during the pageant, with crown and all, and signed autographs at the end of the pageant.To top things off, the night’s winners benefitted from increased scholarship prizes this year. Vaught received $1500 for winning the crown, and another $500 for winning the talent contest.First runner-up received $850 in scholarship funds, while second runner-up received $650.Miss Vaught will begin fulfilling her duties today as she makes appearances during the Rattlesnake Roundup, which goes through Sunday.