CUERO – Smiles filled the audience as 16 girls walked across the stage during the Little Miss Sparkle Pageant for special needs children at the Cuero ISD Performing Arts Center on Sunday evening.

The pageant was founded and organized by Delynn Pesek, of Shiner. Delynn was crowned Miss Shiner this past year, and she said being involved in her own pageants made Delynn realize, “You know, they don’t have anything like this. It’s important to me to make sure that they can do everything that I can still do.”

Delynn, 18, and her younger sister, Dallyn Pesek, 12, worked together to co-coordinate the pageant this year. This was Delynn’s third year coordinating the pageant, and it was her second year hosting it in Cuero. The first pageant was in Shiner.

Delynn founded a nonprofit organization, Sparkle Club Inc., and the two main branches of it are the South Texas Sparkles Cheer Team and the Little Miss Sparkle Pageant.

“They’re really not different at all,” Delynn said of the special needs children she works with. “They’re just like my best friends.”

Gigi Marburger, of Schulenburg, and Abby Pesek, of Yoakum, were the two judges for the evening.

“We’re really looking for their smile and just their personality, and it really shines through when the light hits them up there,” said Marburger.

The Little Miss Sparkle contestants competed in three categories — fun wear, talent and evening wear.

The fun wear portion was an optional category.

“They wear something that they feel comfortable in, something they feel confident in, an outfit that they love,” said Delynn. The girls’ outfits ranged from swimsuits to cowgirl apparel to cheerleading wear and even Harry Potter.

For the talent contest, the girls performed a wide variety of acts, including singing, dancing, cheering and reciting a poem.

Brooklynn Boening, 6, of Gonzales, sang her favorite song, “The Git Up,” by Blanco Brown.

“She’s really, really super excited for this,” said Taylor Boening, Brooklynn’s mom. This was Brooklynn’s first experience in a pageant.

The final portion of the pageant was the formal category: evening wear. All 16 girls, ages 5 through 25, participated. One or two at a time, the girls were escorted to multiple spots on the stage while Austin Meyer, 17, of Hallettsville, played piano.

Following the evening wear category, every girl was honored.

“Every girl gets a crown, every girl gets a title, every girl gets a trophy, every girl gets a medal,” Delynn said.

Delynn was also presented with roses as a thank you from the participants and their families.

“It’s something spectacular,” Delynn said. “By far, this is my favorite day.”

Shelby Miller is the multimedia intern for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at samiller@vicad.com or @samillerphotos on Twitter.

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