Burps 'n' fiddles mark 2nd Miss America prelims

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A supermodel ripped a massive burp onstage, a contestant who collapsed the night before made it back to the stage, and a fiddle-playing Kentuckian wowed the crowd in the second night of preliminary competition in this year's Miss America pageant.

The night got off to a strange start Wednesday when pageant host Dena Blizzard, a former Miss New Jersey now working as a standup comic, challenged the celebrity judges to reveal something interesting about themselves that no one knows.

Model Kathy Ireland revealed that she could "burp the alphabet."

Dared to come up on stage and do so, Ireland hesitated, then climbed the stairs to the stage and admitted she really couldn't burp the alphabet. But at Blizzard's urging, Ireland did rip a massive burp on demand, to peals of laughter from the crowd.

"You just made supermodels cool!" Blizzard said. "I love you!"

The actual talent competition was won by Miss Kentucky, Ramsey Carpenter, who played the fiddle.

"I have been known as the Girl with the Green Fiddle a lot longer than I've been known as Miss Kentucky," said Carpenter, who has been playing the instrument since age 15.

Miss Oklahoma Alex Eppler won the swimsuit competition Wednesday. She said she works out two hours a day, five days a week with a trainer, and once ate nine doughnuts in a contest.

There was considerable uncertainty until shortly before show time as to whether Miss Rhode Island Ivy DePew would be able to compete. She collapsed onstage during the first night of preliminaries Tuesday and was taken to a hospital with what pageant officials revealed Wednesday was dehydration.

DePew rehearsed in the afternoon, then began to feel ill again and went back again to the hospital, but was released in time to compete. She performed "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" on the flute, and used her personal introduction speech to make a wry reminder of her ordeal.

"I'd like to thank out sponsor, AtlanticCare Regional Medical Center," she said.

In Tuesday night's preliminary round, Miss Florida Victoria Cowen won the swimsuit competition, while Miss Ohio Mackenzie Bart won the talent competition for a ventriloquism routine.

The next Miss America will be crowned in Sunday night's nationally televised finale.

Wayne Parry can be reached at