A New Miss Borrego Reigns
Last updated 11/12/2021 at 12:56pm
All eyes were focused on the stage at the Borrego Springs High School gym, as the crowd waited in anticipation of whom of the seven contestants would be crowned as Miss Borrego 2021 – 22 on Oct. 16.
With all the calculation tabulations made by Sheryll Loftin, Master of Ceremonies Fred Jee made the announcements.
Dulce Hernandez was named Miss Congeniality, a vote made by each of the contestants. Second Princess was awarded to Isabel Arteaga, and First Princess went to Brianna Del Bono.
2019 Miss Borrego Danielle Del Bono then passed on the Miss Borrego crown and reigns over to Natalia Carmona, the 2021 – 22 winner.
The night began with the casual wear portion, as contestants donned outfits provided once again by Borrego Outfitters, while performing a three-minute dance to the song, "Feel the Love," choreographed by Corie Jaramillo.
Each of the seven contestants were brought back on stage individually to describe this year's Borrego Days theme, "Welcome Back," and what it means to them.
Many of the speeches described the lessons they learned during the coronavirus pandemic, and how they overcame such challenges. They also reiterated how much they appreciate the small town of Borrego Springs, and the unity it brought.
Chamber of Commerce Vice President and General Manager of the de Anza Desert Club Ramien Shalizi shared a special presentation on behalf of the Chamber, and shared a few words of wisdom and heartfelt advice to all. He then introduced outgoing Honorary Mayor Andy Macuga, and the impact he has made as an ambassador of Borrego Springs during his time as mayor. Shalizi described Andy as a "very humble man," and noted that in preparation for his speech, he asked him to highlight some of his achievements.
"His response was, 'I haven't really done much,' and we all know that's not true," he said. "Besides running a great restaurant, creating jobs, coaching little league, his involvement in high school sports, he does whatever he can do help the community. During the height of the pandemic, he was instrumental in supporting the community. Thank you for everything that you do and congratulations on a successful term."
Macuga reflected on the past years as Honorary Mayor.
"It has been my privilege and my pleasure to serve this community in my position for the last three years, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think to consider that I would be named Honorary Mayor or be considered a possibility," Macuga said. "I keep looking for other terms to describe it, but the truth is in the title itself, it truly it has been an honor."
Jim and Anne Wermers were then introduced as this year's co-Honorary Mayors.
"We're going to do whatever we can, as long as we can to help make this community everything that we can help it become," Jim Wermers said. And they noted that Macuga will be a "tough act to follow."
After a brief intermission, the ladies were escorted back onto the stage with their partners in their stunning evening gowns, and the crowd shared their enthusiasm.
Shalizi was back on stage, and presented Danielle Del Bono two Certificates of Appreciation by San Diego County District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond and State Assemblyman Randy Voepel, to thank her for her volunteerism and efforts she has put in throughout her reign, acknowledging the things she has achieved.
Prior to announcing who would take over the reign as Miss Borrego, Danielle Del Bono spoke of the things she has learned during her time as Miss Borrego.
"I would like to say a very warm thank you to the community for accepting me as your Miss Borrego Springs 2019 – 2021. Although we are a small town, the members of this community always pull together in times of need, this was especially seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Living in Borrego Springs during the pandemic has helped me understand the importance of family and unity."
Danielle thanked the community, the Chamber of Commerce, her First and Second Princesses, those involved with the pageant – Sylavana Meeks, Corie Jaramillo, Fred Jee, and last but not least, her parents and sisters.
"To the girls participating this year, you have all worked so hard and I can say that I am truly proud of each and every one of you for coming this far. You have learned amazing life skills that will benefit you in the future. Remember you are all beautiful individuals whom I wish the best in life for you."
She added a few words to the next Miss Borrego Springs, saying, "You will be taking on a very important role and representing an amazingly unique community. Time will be flying by, so make sure you cherish every moment. Always remember that it is not your crown that makes you Miss Borrego Springs, but the actions you take while wearing it."
The new Miss Borrego Springs, First and Second Princesses were announced.
Pageant Director Sylvana Meeks once again outdid herself, putting on a wonderful evening. Meeks continues to showcase the hardwork she puts in, and the dedication to this event for the participating ladies clearly shows. All those involved really make the evening one you would not forget.
Judges for the evening were Mark Durazo, Pam Wiedenkeller, and Rob Moore, who critiqued each contestant based on personal statements prior to the pageant, casual dress, individual speeches, formal wear, and their poise/posture.
The stage displayed a silver backdrop with a "home" type of feel. The large gray/lavender butterflies, sunflowers, and backcountry look were so put together, thanks to Leslie Duncan and the students of the Borrego Art Institute Art Program.