In a few short months, a new Miss Destin will start her reign. But before she can be selected, young hopefuls must go through the application process.

Applicants must be a Destin resident between the ages of 16-19, attending high school at the time of the pageant, never married and willing to dedicate their time to fulfill the duties of Miss Destin.

“She just kind of represents the city at ribbon cuttings and any event that the city wants to do,” said Helen Donaldson, the executive director of the Rodeo. “Her largest role is to represent the Rodeo at the Destin Fishing Rodeo so she’s there every afternoon, from when she gets out of school until the scales close.”

In addition to the Rodeo, the girl selected as Miss Destin will have the opportunity to be in various parades throughout the year and attend local meet and greets.

The ideal Miss Destin is “a girl who can stand on her own two feet” and can take things as they come, according to Donaldson. With multiple boats and fish coming in each day at the Fishing Rodeo, Miss Destin will have to be able handle all kinds of situations since you never know what will happen.

“Someone could bring in this great big shark and everybody’s gonna be crowded around,” Donaldson said. “And they’ve gotta be able to deal with all of the little kids because all of the little girls love Miss Destin.”

Whoever is chosen to be Miss Destin 2019 will also have to be very comfortable around a camera, as she has her picture taken with each angler and child that brings in a fish at the Rodeo.

“Her picture is probably in the paper more than anybody else in the whole community, at least during the month of October,” Donaldson said with a laugh.

The application process is simple. Contestants fill out their basic information as well as answer a few questions such as their goals and ambitions, why they want to be Miss Destin and what they’re accomplishments have been.

After the applications have been received, candidates attend three special events, including interviews with the judges, before the actual pageant takes place.

While it can be nerve wracking and intimidating, current Miss Destin Ellen Brown said she encourages candidates to “be genuinely themselves throughout the whole process and to be confident in who they are.”

But the bottom line of the pageant is to just have fun.

“We stress that it is not a beauty or talent pageant,” Donaldson said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with beauty … we’re just looking for that girl who can deal with all sorts of situations.”

Applications can be picked up in person at the Destin Community Center or the Rodeo office. The form can also be downloaded at www.destinfishingrodeo.org.

The deadline to submit an application is March 15. The Miss Destin Pageant will be held on Saturday, April 13.