Chowning crowned Miss Snake Charmer

Kayla Chowning was crowned Miss Snake Charmer Thursday night at the Municipal Auditorium. A sophomore at Sweetwater High School, she is the daughter of Wayne and Ann-G Chowning. Pageant coordinators said she is one of the youngest contestants to have won the title.Laura Duclos, a junior at Sweetwater High School and daughter of Margarita Duclos and Davis Duclos, won first runner while Lindsey Heidenheimer, a junior at Ballinger High School, won second runner up. Brittany Jenkins, a sophomore at Highland High School and kinship foster daughter of Rex and Judy Covington Cook, was voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants.“Despite the weather” was said often as the contestants took the stage for the Miss Snake Charmer Pageant, following a day of bad weather that resulted in the cancellation of the annual Rattlesnake Review Parade. Traditionally, the Snake Charmer contestants are driven in the parade in individual vehicles. However, the weather did not stop the show at the pageant where a variety of talent was on display.Chowning and Duclos tied as the winners of the talent portion of the contest. Chowning performed a hip-hop dance that she said showed her love of cheering, dance and gymnastics. Duclos performed a song and dance where she started off signing and playing the piano and ended with a dance that involved a light show.Heidenheimer sang an original song while she accompanied herself on guitar.There was also baton twirling with a pirate theme, a beautiful flag routine to the Lion King theme song, a clarinet solo, a song performed in sign language, a guitar solo, more singing and a traditional dance routine.To top it off, 2011 Miss Snake Charmer Laney Wallace, once again showed off her yodeling skills to entertain the crowd. The young winners of the local Star Search competition also entertained with singing and dancing.The theme for the night was Wings Across America in honor of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). A video about the history of the WASP was shown at the beginning of the pageant, and volunteers with the Municipal Auditorium built a stage set to honor the WASP as well.Former WASP Mary Vandevender was the guest of honor during the pageant. Vandevender was raised in Lueders. She stayed to take photos with the contestants after the pageant.