Nearly 200 young women from all across the Hawkeye State are gathered in Cedar Rapids this holiday weekend hoping to be named the new Miss Iowa U-S-A or the Miss Teen Iowa U-S-A. Jim Clingman, of Ottumwa, is organizing the pair of pageants, and he says there are a record number of contestants in each contest, more than 85 in the Miss Iowa U-S-A pageant and more than 100 in the teen version. The interviews began on Thanksgiving Day and the finalists will be named Sunday, with the winners being crowned Sunday night. The winner of the 52nd annual Miss Iowa U-S-A pageant will go on to the national competition in Gary, Indiana, in March which will be carried on N-B-C for the first time. The Miss Teen U-S-A pageant will be held in South Padre Island, Texas, in August. (As above) Each contestant, win or lose, is eligible for several scholarships at: William Penn, Grandview, Coe, Waldorf and Capri College of Cosmetology. While some critics say pageants tend to objectify women, Clingman says the young Iowa ladies who take part in these contests have much to gain. Clingman says “we’re really proud of the fact our pageant is not exploitive. It really does create a number of opportunities for does open doors, it does provide networking opportunities and it does provide scholarships.” This year, Radio Iowa’s Matt Kelley is among the panel of judges for the Miss Iowa U-S-A pageant. For more information, surf to “”.