Miss USA field narrowed to 16 finalists in Vegas

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

A beauty queen celebrating her 27th birthday and a Latina who became the first in her family to graduate from college are among the remaining Miss USA finalists.

The annual competition opened in Las Vegas Sunday night with a fashion show that sent the 51 contestants down the runway in sparkly gowns, bright mini-dresses and colorful hats.

The contest was quickly whittled down to 16 women, including Miss South Carolina USA Erika Powell, who was celebrating her birthday, and Miss Colorado USA Marybel Gonzalez, her family's first college graduate.

Beauty queens from Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas were also among the finalists.

The pageant has three competitions: swimsuit, evening gown and interview question.

The winner will represent the United States at the 61st Miss Universe pageant.

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