Miss Heartland, Miss Nebraska State Fair receive first awards in Miss Nebraska 2019

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Thursday night was the first preliminary night for the Miss Nebraska 2019 Competition. The event was held at North Platte High School.

Allison Baird, Miss Nebraska State Fair, receives the On-Stage Interview Preliminary Award from Miss Nebraska 2018, Jessica Shultis, at the first preliminary night for the 2019 Miss Nebraska Competition (Credit: Jace Barraclough/KNOP-TV)

The evening started with an opening musical and dance number featuring the contestants. It was followed by a talent portion and on-stage question and answer for half the contestants. The other half of the contestants displayed their evening wear and spoke about their social impact initiatives.

Throughout the competition, the audience was entertained by former Miss Nebraska winners, including 2018 winner Jessica Shultis.

Two awards were given out Thursday night. Allie Swanson, Miss Heartland of Omaha, was given the Preliminary Evening Gown Award, and Allison Baird, Miss Nebraska State Fair of Gering, was given the On-Stage Interview Preliminary Award; the first time the award has been given at a Miss Nebraska competition.

Swanson talked about her platform, 'Cybersmartz: Protecting Yourself in a Digital World," while Baird sang for her talent and fielded questions about President Trump's executive order for the border wall and what makes her qualified to be Miss Nebraska

"We got to walk around in our beautiful evening gowns that demonstrate our creativity, our beauty and our personality," said Swanson.

"Then, at the end we got to share with the judges a little bit about our Social Impact which is really great."

Baird says she's proud of being the first candidate ever to win the On-Stage Interview Preliminary Award.

"I not only got to talk about my Social Impact Initiative but also current events and at the end of the day that's really what this organization is really about. It's about articulate women who are empowered and empowering others. I could not be anymore proud and grateful to receive this award."

With the awards, Baird was awarded a $500 scholarship, and Swanson was awarded a $350 scholarship.

This year, up to $1.33 million in scholarships will be awarded to the Miss Nebraska contestants.

The second preliminary night will be Friday at North Platte High School, the event will start at 7:00 p.m.