McKensie Garber of Hale is competing for the title of Miss Missouri this week in Mexico, Mo., at the Missouri Military Academy. Miss Missouri is a state preliminary to the Miss America Scholarship Pageant. Garber was crowned Miss Gateway St. Louis in September and will represent that title along with 25 other local titleholders in this week’s competition. The phases of competition include personal interview, talent, evening gown, onstage questions and swimsuit. Garber was to compete in interview and preliminary talent today (Wednesday). She will be performing jazz en pointe to Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).” She will go on to compete in evening gown and onstage question on Thursday, and swimsuit on Friday. The scores will start over on Saturday night during the finals of Miss Missouri when the Top Ten are announce. The competition will be narrowed again to a Top Five before the 76th Miss Missouri is crowned. The next Miss Missouri will travel to Atlantic City, N.J., in September to compete for the title of Miss America. The Miss America Organization is the largest scholarship provider for women in the country. This will be Garber’s first year competing on the Miss level. In 2011, she was crowned Miss Missouri’s Outstanding Teen and went on to become the National Teen Spokesperson for CharacterPlus. Garber completed her college degree in three years and recently graduated with honors from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. She was awarded Outstanding Senior in Convergence Journalism and Overall Outstanding Senior in Media for the Communications, Arts and Media Department. During her senior year of college, Garber traveled to Missouri to promote her personal platform, “CharacterPlus – Inspiring Lives of Integrity Through Education” and volunteer with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals – the national platform for the Miss America Organization. “I am incredibly honored and excited to finally be competing in the Miss America Organization,” Garber said. “This organization has contributed so much to my life and it would be a dream come true to give that inspiration back to others as Miss Missouri or Miss America.” Members of the public can vote Garber for the Miss Missouri “People’s Choice Award” at The winner will receive a spot in the Top Eleven as well as $750 scholarship. The pageant will also be live streamed online at