Spinning, jumping and whirling a set of silver nunchucks, Kayla Goldberg kicked her way into becoming Miss Napa County 2007.
Goldberg was crowned Saturday night before a packed Opera House, as 10 other young ladies vied for the title and scholarships.
The 19-year-old student and Napa High graduate wowed the judges with her beauty and brains but also her athletic performance of a tae kwon do routine set to a techno beat.
The young women, who are either from Napa County or work or attend school here, competed for the title sponsored by the Miss Napa County Scholarship program and the Miss America organization.
A student at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angeles, Goldberg will spend the year making appearances and promoting her platform “Teens Start Thinking … Stop Drinking.”
Before the competition Goldberg was calm and composed.
“I have high expectations this year,” she admitted. It’s the opposite of 12 months ago, when Goldberg competed as a newcomer. Named first runner-up in 2006, this time she knew what she wanted.
“I’m in it to win it,” she said confidently.
“Napa County has a great scholarship program, and I’m definitely in it for the scholarships,” she said.
Backstage before the evening began, Maggie Stewart, Miss Napa County 2006, reflected on her reign.
“I’m sad,” said Stewart, “It’s been the fastest year of my life.”
“The Miss America program has changed my life forever,” she said.
Stewart said one of the highlights of her term was attending the Miss California competition this past summer.
To the new Miss Napa County, Stewart had these words of advice.
“This year is not all about crowns and evening gowns. It’s about the hard work, the wonderful memories and the difference you are going to make.”
With the curtain ready and the girls assembled backstage, master of ceremonies Ira C. Smith kicked off Saturday’s evening program with a bold, “Let’s begin!”
Entering to “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang, and wearing black cocktail dresses, the young ladies introduced themselves before quickly changing for the “Lifestyle and Fitness” competition.
Contestant Sarah Rutan, 19, wasn’t afraid to model her swimsuit.
“I work out twice a day,” she said. “I’m most nervous about the interview.”
With loud shout-outs from family members peppering each introduction, the artistic expression segment showcased each contestant’s talents. Crowd favorites included Rutan’s fast-paced vocal comedy “Addicted to Shopping,” and “Dream On,” Amanda Luippold’s lyrical dance that highlighted her balance and flexibility. Christina Frost’s hip hop routine, “Crash Course” brought down the house, with Frost dedicating her performance to Napa High dance teacher Kris Van Treese, who recently passed away.
The hip hop mood continued at intermission as dancers from Expressions Dance Studio took to the stage for a set of routines while the contestants readied themselves for the final event.
Wearing sparkling sequined and ornately beaded gowns, each young lady entered the stage on the arm of a proud escort.
As Smith announced the runners-up, friends and family yelled their support and the excitement built. When Goldberg’s name was called as winner, her cheering section erupted with screams, waving paddles with Goldberg’s name and photo on them.
Backstage, Goldberg was delighted. “I envisioned it, I dreamed it.”
“I’m so excited,” said the new titleholder.
Proud dad Steven Goldberg was also thrilled.
“Thank God she has her mother’s looks, her brother’s personality, and my last name,” he said. Wearing a T-shirt and button with Goldberg’s photo, he beamed at his daughter.
Holding roses, a scepter and large silver tray, the Miss Napa County crown sparkled in Goldberg’s hair.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever take it off,” said Goldberg. “I worked really hard for this.”
Program co-executive director Lani Bunch Robertson congratulated Goldberg.
“She’s fabulous,” said Robertson, who held the title herself in 1961.
When asked what she’d do next, Goldberg laughed and said, “Eat junk food”. After spending the last two months commuting to Napa on the weekends, she’ll continue her visits to prepare for the next step in the competition.
“Miss California, here I come,” said Goldberg.
Miss Napa County 2007 scholarship program awards
• Miss Napa County 2007 Kayla Goldberg, $6,000
• First runner-up Jordan Joske, $4,500
• Second runner-up, Sarah Rutan, $3,500
• Third runner-up, Christina Frost, $3,000
• Fourth runner-up, Lindsay Becker, $2,500
Non-finalist scholarship awards
• Mayra Perez, $800
• Tiffany Flossman, $800
• Devyn Wagner, $800
• Alma Tenorio, $800
• Amanda Luippold, $800
• Lorien Clark, $800
Tiffany Flossman, $200
Alma Tenorio, $200
Spirit of competition
Sarah Rutan, $200
Jean Claire Ghiringhelli Memorial Scholarship for community service
Jordan Joske, $200
D. Leilani Bunch Robertson Scholarship for community/scholastic achievement
Sarah Rutan, $200
Sponsor scholarship awards
Total scholarship awards
Miss Napa County 2007 Contestant Scoring
Private interview (25 percent)
Artistic expression in talent (35 percent)
Presence and poise — evening wear (20 percent)
Lifestyle and fitness — swimsuit (15 percent)
On-stage question (5 percent)