Miss America prelim competition taking place

( Lexie Madden )

Preliminary competition got underway Tuesday at the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas with the 53 contestants divided into 3 groups.

Miss Nebraska Mariah Cook of Chadron, Miss Wyoming Lexie Madden of Torrington, and Miss South Dakota Calista Kirby...who was a cheerleader for 3 years at the University of Nebraska...were in the group that competed in their on-stage interviews.

No results are announced for that portion of the competition, only for talent and swimsuit/evening wear. Winning Tuesday's preliminary talent competition was Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton while preliminary swimsuit honors went to Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers.

Cook, Madden, and Kirby, had the swimsuit/evening wear competition Wednesday and will compete in their group's talent competition Thursday. Cook and Madden will offer piano solos while Kirby a tumbling routine.

The Miss America Pageant is taking place at Planet Hollywood, with the finals airing live Saturday night on ABC...although it's delayed in the Mountain and Pacific time zones one hour, starting at 8 p.m. .

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