NOTICE: Classes canceled today due to weather conditions. Check Blackboard for communication from your instructors.

Two SBU students to be crowned Mr. and Miss Southwest at annual pageant

Mr. and Miss Southwest is an annual pagent taking place this year Friday, March 4. Southwest Baptist University continues the tradition of honoring one male and one female student each year at the annual Mr. and Miss Southwest Pageant, which takes place this year at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 4, in Pike Auditorium on the SBU campus.

Eight candidates are nominated by SBU faculty and staff and voted upon by the student body to select a pair of standout students to represent the Bearcat family for the next year. The voting will take place by text message during the pageant, which will include opportunities to learn more about the candidates through everything from introductory videos to talent presentations and question-and-answer sessions.

This year’s candidates are Brice Benham of Webb City, Mo.; Aric Dale Gooch of Bolivar, Mo.; Aleece Kanai of Mount Vernon, Mo.; Natalie O’Keefe of Granite City, Ill.; Kinsey Shelton of Highland, Ill.; Hunter Smith of Kansas City, Mo.; Lydia Swisher of Fishers, Ind.; and John Taylor of Rogers, Ark.

The beginnings of the “Miss Southwest” pageant date back to the 1930s, with “Mr. Southwest” being added in 1963. The pageant is part of Bearcat Days, the two-day visit event in which admitted students considering SBU attendance are hosted on campus.

Admission to the pageant is free and open to the public. For more information about Mr. and Miss Southwest, please contact student activities director Nathan Penland at (417) 328-1828 or

Cutline – The 2016 Mr. and Miss Southwest candidates are (front row, left to right) Kinsey Shelton, Lydia Swisher and Aleece Kanai, and (back row, left to right) Aric Dale Gooch, Natalie O’Keefe, John Taylor, Hunter Smith and Brice Benham.