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New Miss Arkansas says she had the fire to win

New Miss Arkansas Sloane Roberts said Sunday that people who told her she wasn't ready for the title lit a fire underneath her.
New Miss Arkansas Sloane Roberts said Sunday that people who told her she wasn't ready for the title lit a fire underneath her.

Roberts, 19, competing as Miss Heart of the Ozarks, was crowned the 75th Miss Arkansas on Saturday night in Hot Springs, her second time in a competition that she said is usually won on the third, fourth or even fifth try.

"I worked really hard," Roberts said. "I had a couple of people tell me I wasn't ready, honestly it set a fire underneath me.

"I had faith in myself and that made me ready to take on this journey and coming into it knew I was the best I could possibly be," said Roberts, of Rison.

Miss University of Central Arkansas Morgan Holt, 21, of Conway, was named the first runner-up, and Miss Greater Little Rock Bethany Whitfield, 23, of Bryant, was the second runner-up.

Roberts' platform is "Love Always Hopes: Preventing Child Abduction," and she said she plans to take that message to elementary school children across the state.

"We are strong, we are smart and we have a right to be safe," Roberts said.

Roberts, who receives a $20,000 scholarship and more than $50,000 in awards that include wardrobe and transportation, will also represent Arkansas in the Miss America pageant, looking to become the third Miss Arkansas to win the title.

"I'm so excited," she said. "I know my state wants the absolute best for me, even if I don't win Miss America, I get to be Miss Arkansas, it's the experience of a lifetime."

Roberts, a senior communications major at the University of Arkansas, will put her studies on hold for a year while she serves as Miss Arkansas and said she hopes to one day open a dance studio, though she also expressed interest in a career in broadcast journalism.

"I know that being Miss Arkansas will open a lot of opportunities for me," Roberts said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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