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Jennifer Berry is crowned Miss America

A 22-year-old aspiring teacher from Oklahoma was crowned Miss America on Saturday night.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2006 09:38 IST

A 22-year-old aspiring teacher from Oklahoma was crowned Miss America on Saturday night, the first time the storied but struggling pageant was held outside Atlantic City, New Jersey. Jennifer Berry outlasted 51 other women to become Miss America 2006, earning a $30,000 college scholarship and a yearlong speaking tour in the process.

Miss Georgia Monica Pang was first runner-up and Miss Alabama Alexa Jones second runner-up. Miss Virginia Kristi Lauren Glakas and Miss District of Columbia Shannon Schambeau rounded out the top five. Miss Hawaii Malika Dudley won Miss Congeniality. Berry, a student at the University of Oklahoma, wowed the judges by dancing ballet for her talent routine. She succeeds Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs.

An Atlantic City institution for 85 years, the pageant traded the Boardwalk for the Strip this year in a bid to revive interest. Without coverage from a major television network for the first time since 1954, it aired on Country Music Television. The pageant, which dabbled in reality TV-style gimmicks in recent years as it tried to lure viewers back, struck a more old-fashioned theme this time out, despite the move to Sin City. Video clips from old pageants were aired on the telecast, and two traditions that had been absent since the 1980s were revived: The women wore sashes naming their states and elected a Miss Congeniality.

First Published: Jan 22, 2006 09:38 IST