When a friend asked Kelly Driskell Yaun to enter the 1994 Miss Destin pageant with her, she just couldn’t say no.
Kelly had moved to the Destin area the summer before her freshman year with her mother in 1991 from Huntsville, Alabama, and was a junior at Fort Walton Beach High School when the Miss Destin pageant sparked her interest.
Kelly ended up taking the crown and winning Miss Destin 1994 pageant and became the face of the 46th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.
“Winning this pageant was a lot more than what I expected,” she said. “I learned about tourism, captains and ... charter boats. It was more of a learning experience.”
Kelly said holding the crown was one of her best high school memories.
“I remember when a little boy about 4 or 5 came in and was so proud of his fish. Kids are always the proudest with their catches,” she said. “He insisted that he caught the fish all on his own and didn’t need help from his father.”
The harbor is a busy place during the Rodeo. There was even one snack Kelly couldn’t resist and had to have every day during the Destin Fishing Rodeo.
“I always had to have my yellow fin tuna dip that was sold from a food truck,” she said. “I could eat that dip everyday and probably still can.”
Kelly now lives in Wetumpka, Alabama, with her husband and five children. She runs a small business called Crazy Daisies, making hand-appliqué baby onesies and T-Shirts.
Kelly encourages young ladies who are interested to be part of the Miss Destin pageant and said it is a great way to learn more about the community and the fishing industry.
“Don’t assume that only a certain type of girl is going to win, this pageant is for anyone,” she said. “It’s always a diverse group of girls and even if you don’t win, it’s an experience on its own.”
Kelly advises the current Miss Destin Rachel McMullen to make the most of it everyday at the harbor.
“You are the face of Destin and you will be in many family photos. You are the one they are going to remember when they look back at memories and think of Destin,” she said. “Give a positive impression so they will want to come back next year.”