• 68°

Brookhaven’s Shelby Flumm vies for Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality

Shelby Flumm genuinely likes the 24 other contestants vying for Miss Mississippi Hospitality but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to beat them.

“Everybody’s so nice,” she said Thursday, shortly after arriving back at her temporary dorm room at Southern Miss. “You just make friends with everybody.”

The 68th Miss Hospitality Pageant, which is held at the Saenger Theater in Hattiesburg. offers more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes to young women from across the state.

The winner will serve for one year as the state’s official ambassador for economic development and tourism.

Flumm, the daughter of Gary and Tammy Flumm of Brookhaven, met with judges Wednesday for a panel interview and Thursday for a one-on-one interview.

On Thursday, she competed in the speech portion of the contest. She had 90 seconds to present an original speech on how she’d promote Mississippi to a visitor.

Today, she’ll perform a 20-second live commercial about Brookhaven before the judges and model an evening gown of her choice.

The Top Ten chosen tonight will answer an on-stage question by the emcees. Those 10 young women will be judged based on their scores from all the previous competitions and the list will be narrowed down to five before a winner is chosen.

Flumm, the reigning Miss Lincoln County Hospitality, hopes it will be her.

She’s dedicating her participation in the contest to her grandmother, Bea Allen, who died April 24.

“My grandmother was the most hospitable woman I know,” she said. “I just want to follow in her footsteps and make her proud.”

One of the most difficult tasks for the 18-year-old has been trying to figure out how to squeeze all of Brookhaven’s positive attributes into a 20-second commercial.

“It’s hard,” she said.

Flumm graduated from Brookhaven Academy in May with special honors and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. She will attend University of Mississippi in the fall to major in pre-pharmacy. She plans to complete pharmacy school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The winner will serve for one year as the state’s official ambassador for economic development and tourism.

The pageant originally began in 1949 under then-Governor Fielding Wright and the Mississippi Legislature. Since that time, the pageant has called the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Starkville and Hattiesburg home. The Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant offers more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes to the top finalists.

During pageant week in Hattiesburg, contestants will attend social events, take part in community service projects, and participate in required rehearsals and competitions, leading up to the crowning of the 2017 Mississippi Miss Hospitality on Saturday evening.

Tickets to the 2017 Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant may be purchased online at HattiesburgSaenger.com, the Saenger’s Facebook page, by calling the box office at 601-584-4888, or visiting the theater in person.