Headed to Hattiesburg: Send-off event held for Starkville Miss Hospitality

Starkville Miss Hospitality Kathryn Stringer (left) speaks to guess at a send-off party on Friday as Little Miss Hospitality Cathryn Rose Ryder. (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

Starkville Miss Hospitality Kathryn Stringer (left) speaks to guests at a send-off party on Friday as Little Miss Hospitality Cathryn Rose Ryder. (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

By: 
RYAN PHILLIPS
SDN EDITOR

Robert Stringer fought back tears as he listened to his daughter describe the aspects that make the state of Mississippi great. 

His daughter, Kathryn Stringer, a 21-year-old upcoming senior English major at Mississippi State University, will represent Starkville at the statewide Miss Hospitality Competition in Hattiesburg next week. 

At a small event in the Partnership lobby Friday afternoon, Stringer showed off her dresses, recited her speech and commercial for the competition, and thanked all of the people who have supported her along the way. 

“Today was probably the most nervous I’ve been, because when I looked around it was literally everyone who was so important to me in my life,” Stringer said. “But in front of other people I obviously get pumped up with music then I just change that nerve energy into good energy, I probably dance too much.” 

The competition, started in 1949, is open to women ages 18-24. 

Stringer will compete against others from across the state, but will begin with rehearsals for the first part of the week. On Wednesday and Thursday, she will do interviews with judges and on Friday morning will compete in the speech portion of the event. She will give her opening statement, give the same commercial speech she gave at her send-off party and compete in the evening gown portion. 

Saturday will see the competition’s top 10 compete. 

To stay motivated, Stringer says she relies on prayer and music, namely the score from “The Greatest Showman” musical. 

“I’ve made a playlist that’s very near and dear to my heart,” she said. “I named it “‘Genteel Steel’ - that’s a phrase my uncle used to describe my grandmother one time, so it’s full of inspirational songs, pump up songs so every day before I give a speech and every day before I study for the day, I listen to that just to get me amped up.” 

Her mother, Liz Stringer, was also in attendance and praised her daughter for her independent nature. 

“It’s been great and it’s been very different, her sister did this two years ago and that was the first time I ever experienced the Mississippi Miss Hospitality world, so it was all kind of new to me,” Liz Stringer said, referring to her oldest daughter Mary Elizabeth, who won the competition at the state level two years ago. 

“This time, I feel like I was more ready to help her,” she continued. “But Kathryn is so independent she did everything on her own. All I did was drive her around, help her do some shopping but everything else is all Kathryn so it’s been wonderful.” 

Starkville Miss Hospitality Director Angella Baker said Stringer will make all of her appearances in Starkville and will make an appearance at Forks & Corks to hand out awards on Aug. 25. 

“I’m really excited about Kathryn, she’s an awesome young lady and going to represent Starkville really, really well on the state stage and we look forward to seeing her shine,” Baker said. 

The competition can be viewed on Facebook Live at the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition Facebook page at 8 p.m. on Friday. 

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