For the fifth year running, a Texan has walked down the runway as the winner of the Miss USA contest.
"They called my name and I was shocked," Gretchen Polhemus said after she won the pageant Tuesday night.The 23-year-old cattle broker and real estate agent from Fort Worth said she thought her runner-up, Jill Scheffert of Oklahoma City, was the winner.
Richard Guy, director of the Texas USA pageant, said the state's fifth winning entry in the Miss USA Pageant just showed that "classy, elegant, today women" are victorious.
Guy was in the Texas cheering section waving a Lone Star flag.
He and his partner, Rex Holt, have developed into pageant gurus, coaching the past five Texas contestants as well as the 1977 Texas entry to victory through their agency, Guyrex Associates.
Guyrex last week was featured on an ABC-TV "20-20" segment that detailed the rigorous training given winning contestants represented by the agency.
A "20-20" team was filming Guy again Tuesday night.
Polhemus was crowned at the conclusion of a dazzling, internationally televised two-hour production on CBS from the Mobile Civic Center. Dick Clark and Angie Dickinson served as masters of ceremonies.
"I'm so proud of her," Polhemus' mother, Pat, said, hugging a "lucky" stuffed toy cow.
Prizes and gifts amounting to $200,000 go with the title.
The other finalists, besides Miss Oklahoma, were Miss New Jersey Deborah Lee Husti; Miss Louisiana Elizabeth Primm; and Miss Georgia Michele Nemeth.
After the winner was crowned, the contestants went to a coronation ball.
Fifty-one women from each state and the District of Columbia competed.
Polhemus said she will pursue an entertainment career while continuing her real estate and livestock businesses in Fort Worth.
The program was highlighted by a dance number with Broadway star Tommy Tune and the 51 contestants stepping to "Is It True What They Say about Dixie?"
Polhemus inherited the crown from Miss USA Courtney Gibbs, 22.