Five local girls are gearing up to compete in the 2017 Miss Destin pageant, which is free to the public and will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8 at the Destin Community Center.

The girls have different talents and interests, but one thing they all have in common: they love fish!

"I think they're fabulous, and I'm glad I'm not a judge because it's going to be a hard decision," said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Destin Fishing Rodeo. "They're really bright, sweet young women and it just amazes me every year how fortunate we are to have such a great pool of smart young women." 

Below is a look at each of the girls. Make sure to attend the Miss Destin pageant to see who will be crowned the queen of this year's Destin Fishing Rodeo!

 

Paige Dougherty, 16

School: Fort Walton Beach High School

Parents: Sharmaine and Joe Dougherty

Most of my time is spent doing school dance team, studying, and helping my friends and family when it is most needed.

I would like to be Miss Destin 2017 because Destin is my home and I would like to return following college to practice my career. 

I believe I would be a good Miss Destin because I genuinely care about the future of Destin and how I can help the city grow.

Favorite fish: Tuna

 

Caroline Porter, 17

School: Fort Walton Beach High School

Parents: Joe and Beverly Porter

Most of my time is spent doing school work, attending my church youth group Bible studies, and spending time with friends and family.

I would like to be Miss Destin 2017 because I love my city and know that I would make an outstanding representative of our community. I would be honored to represent the city at various events and enjoy meeting the anglers from all over the country that come to Destin to participate in the Rodeo. This experience is a unique opportunity to meet so many different people and serve as a good role model for the young girls of Destin. 

I believe I would be a good Miss Destin because I'm very outgoing, enjoy meeting new people and love being outdoors. I would love to represent my community at various functions. Our community is unique and it would be a great honor for me to serve as Miss Destin. 

Favorite fish: Blue Wahoo

 

Rachel McMullen, 17

School: Fort Walton Beach High School

Parents: Ed and Debra McMullen

Most of my time is spent doing homework, training for the cross country season and helping out with the Destin Middle School track team.

I would like to be Miss Destin 2017 because it is a rare opportunity to serve my hometown through one of its most valued and historical events. Having this opportunity would allow me to further my relationships within the community, represent the city of Destin as a positive role model, and communicate my love for Destin with countless others. 

I believe I would be a good Miss Destin because of how much I value the community and the events it holds. Being able to actively participate in the events that Destin holds as Miss Destin would give me the chance to share all the love, excitement and respect I have for this community and how it played a huge role in my childhood and shaping me into the young lady I am today. 

Favorite fish: King Mackerel

 

Kyla McInnes, 16

School: Choctawhatchee High School 

Parents: Steven and Graeme McInnes

Most of my time is spent doing cheerleading, tumbling and church. 

I would like to be Miss Destin 2017 because I would like to be more involved in the community and give back. 

I believe I would be a good Miss Destin because I give 110 percent in all that I do. I would like to embrace and share Destin with others. I love playing tourist on the harbor and throughout Destin, and I am very friendly and approachable. 

Favorite fish: Grouper

 

Alexis Sparks, 16

School: Fort Walton Beach High School

Parents: Sandy and William Day

Most of my time is spent doing cheer and art.

I would like to be Miss Destin 2017 because I was born and raised in Destin and have always loved the boats and fishing and every other wonderful thing about this town. I was 6 years old the first time my grandfather taught me how to fish on the beach and ever since then I've been in love. Living in Destin has been an amazing experience and I couldn't think of a better way to give back to it than by serving as a representative of the town. 

I believe I would be a good Miss Destin because I have lived here my entire life and would represent it well. I love kids and helping my community in any way I can. Also with the large role Miss Destin plays in the Destin Fishing Rodeo I feel like I would excel most because my grandfather is a local fisherman and I've been fishing with him my entire life and have my own fishing license. Destin is my home and this community is about compassion, kindness, family and being able to reel one in! All values I hold near and dear to my heart. 

Favorite fish: Red Snapper