Decatur County native Maggie Bridges prepares for the final night of Miss America Sunday

Published 6:21 pm Friday, September 12, 2014

When Maggie Bridges went to Atlantic City to represent the state of Georgia in the Miss America Contest, she didn’t go alone. 

A whole corps of family members, friends and supporters has accompanied her from her hometown community, as well as state organizations.

Her mother, Cathy Bridges, is there to experience the events right along with her daughter, and has shared some first-hand reports.

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She describes a typical day for a Miss America contestant. It begins at 5 a.m. and cell phone privileges are revoked as soon as the girls get to Boardwalk Hall where rehearsals and events are held.

They do not get their phones back until late at night when everything is over. By that time, they are usually so exhausted they don’t want to do anything but fall asleep, according to Maggie’s mother. She said Maggie does have a chance to catch a quick nap during the day while others are rehearsing and blesses the fact that Maggie has a knack for falling asleep anywhere, anytime.

Although the family has been able to watch the competitions, she said contact with Maggie has been limited. Right after the competitions when they are all the girls are in the hall together she gets to speak briefly with her.

She said on Friday, that after all the competitions were finished Thursday night, the top 15 finalists had already been decided from the preliminary competitions. But, no one knows who they are. They will be announced at the beginning of the broadcast on Sunday evening. Also to be announced are those girls who raised the most funds for their charity. Maggie placed second in that contest.

Meanwhile events go on for the girls.

Friday morning, events included final interviews with the top 10 finalists in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM ) scholarship competition, of which Maggie was one.

Friday evening at 6 p.m. was the Children’s Miracle Network hike fundraiser.

A traditional fun event on Saturday evening will be the “Show us Your Shoes parade.” This apparently began many years ago when the gals would parade on the boardwalk and the guys would yell out, “Show us your shoes,” hoping to catch a glimpse of an ankle or a gorgeous leg.

Saturday and Sunday will also be full of final rehearsals in preparation for the televised show on ABC Sunday evening at 8 p.m.

Maggie’s mother said the experience has been fabulous.

“Maggie has done a wonderful job,” she said. “We hope and think she is in the mix for the final 15.”

But she acknowledged that the competition is stiff with so many talented and beautiful gals.

Cathy Bridges said the only time she gets nervous when she sees Maggie compete is when she is in the talent section. However, she doesn’t ever detect any nervousness on Maggie’s part. She thinks the only event Maggie has been uncomfortable with is the bathing suit competition.

“It takes her out of her comfort zone, and she has had to work hard on that,” Cathy said.

She concluded her comments saying Maggie has had a great time, is thankful for the huge support from her home community and has made friends she will probably keep for a lifetime.

Locally, Bainbridge and Decatur County folks will have their attentions glued to the TV on Sunday night, rooting for their hometown girl. There will also be some “Watch Parties” among Maggie’s friends, including one at Crave Eatery beginning at 7 p.m., where the menu will feature appetizers and drinks.