It’s been two years since Melody Hager became a first to be crowned Miss Statesville.
Hager was the first non-Iredell resident to capture the crown, and thanks to COVID, her two-year reign was another first.
Still, as she prepares to crown her successor Saturday night, she realized the past two years have flown by. “For as long as I’ve had the title, it feels like it was just yesterday that I won,” Hager said.
The new Miss Statesville will be crowned Saturday night at Mac Gray Auditorium at Statesville High School. The new Miss Statesville Outstanding Teen will also be crowned. Like Hager, McKenzie Scott Cox, has held the title for two years.
It was a chance encounter that led Hager, who is from Mecklenburg County, to enter the Miss Statesville competition two years ago. She and her musical group, Melody and the Notes, were playing at a Festival of Food Trucks in Mooresville when a man approached her. That man was Ryan Pegarsch, director of the Miss Statesville organization.
Hager said Pegarsch told her that, for the first time, the competition was being opened up to women from outside Iredell County and encouraged her to enter. She filled out the paperwork, and within a few weeks, she was the new Miss Statesville.
The Miss Statesville competition was not her first pageant. During her junior year of college, she entered the Miss Asheville pageant and emerged with that title.
She said she took a couple of years off after the Miss Asheville experience. “I needed to figure out who Melody was,” she said. It was during that break that she met Pegarsch.
Even though she’s not from Iredell County, Hager said, she feels embraced by her adopted hometown, and has nothing but positive things to say about her two years as a representative of Statesville.
“Miss Statesville was an incredibly distinguished title in the organization (Miss America) and the community pours so much love into our representative so I am unbelievably honored to be wearing the Statesville title across my chest,” she said last summer as she was preparing to represent this community in the Miss North Carolina Pageant.
Hager said one of the highlights of her more than two-year reign is being able to further her social impact project, music therapy. She has held a jam session fundraiser at Daveste’ Vineyard and Winery, bringing in funds for Piedmont Music Therapy, and released a Christmas album with Miss Metrolina and Miss Gastonia to raise money for G-Cleft Music Therapy.
During her time as Miss Statesville, she and Miss Statesville’s Carolina Princess Isabella DiFiore, have made numerous public appearances and participated in parades.
While all of that is coming to an end, Hager said, she looks back on a couple of years of making a lot of new friends and making memories.
As she prepares to crown her successor, Hager offered some advice to the woman who will take over as Miss Statesville. “Soak in every moment you can,” she said. And, Hager said, she knows it sounds cliché, but she encouraged the new Miss Statesville to “be yourself. Be the best you you can be.”
And, she said, the next Miss Statesville will be representing a community ready to give wholehearted support and love.
“I owe the deepest gratitude to the people of Statesville and Iredell County,” she said.