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Courtesy Miss Liberty America LLC
Miss Liberty America, a pageant slated to debut in July 2012, will require its contestants to be proficient in firearms and CPR, and familiar with such documents as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 11/2/2010 12:36:13 PM ET 2010-11-02T16:36:13

Swimsuit? Check. Evening gown? Check. Gun — huh?

At first glance, the Miss Liberty America pageant looks like any other scholarship pageant going out there. However, its odd requirements — like needing to be CPR-certified, proficient with firearms and able to converse about historic American documents — make it sound more like a program for young Sarah Palins-in-training or Mama Grizzlies-to-be.

And that’s something its founder, Alicia Hayes-Roberts, is perfectly OK with. “It is absolutely a beauty pageant,” she told TODAYshow.com, “filled with elite, feminine patriots.”

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Of firearms and fitness
Hayes-Roberts, a Toledo, Ohio-based artist who has worked as a radio personality and also as a makeup artist on “Larry King Live,” started the event, slated to debut in Las Vegas during July 4 weekend 2012, because she was outraged over how the media covers other pageants — particularly their focus on the stands contestants take during interview segments. 

“People should not be judged on their opinions, but how they answer the questions,” Hayes-Roberts said. “We all have different opinions — that’s what makes us America.”

Courtesy Miss Liberty America LL
Miss Liberty America founder Alicia Hayes-Roberts said the pageant will have an ethnically diverse panel of judges, plus a mechanism for the public to weigh in.

And Hayes-Roberts has a rationale for every one of her pageant’s offbeat requirements.

Regarding knowledge of the founding American documents, “All young Americans should know these documents. It’s not left-wing or right-wing: All Americans should know, love, read, respect, learn and defend the Constitution.”

And the requirement that contestants be proficient with firearms is simple: “It’s in the Second Amendment,” she said.

As for one of the more traditional competition categories — swimsuit — Hayes-Roberts explained it is to assess physical fitness. “Physical fitness is all-important, but I’m not trying to cram it down someone’s throat,” she said.

Slideshow: Miss World 2010: Beauties take the stage (on this page)

Winners of this contest for patriots will be judged by an ethnically diverse panel, Hayes-Roberts promises: There will be “three black judges, three white judges, three Hispanic judges and three Asian judges,” she told TODAYshow.com. She added that “there will also be a chance for the American popular vote,” a la “American Idol” or “Dancing With the Stars.”

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Related: Rush Limbaugh to judge 2010 Miss America pageant

Not a Tea Party pageant
The fortunate winner of the pageant, Hayes-Roberts promises, will receive a raft of prizes, including a handgun or rifle of her choosing; lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association; complete dental care; a mink coat, and more.

But Miss Liberty America has responsibilities, too: She is required to “raise money for military organizations, register citizens to vote in rural areas and entertain our military at home and abroad.”

Still, make no mistake about it, Hayes-Roberts stresses: This is not a Tea Party beauty pageant. “We embrace a liberal point of view, a midstream point of view, and a conservative point of view — we put Americans first,” she told TODAYshow.com. “When did the Tea Partiers hijack the founding documents?”

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Yet it’s hard to avoid the impression that there is a conservative political thrust to Miss Liberty America. One indication: The chief financial officer of the pageant organization is Hayes-Roberts’ brother Rutherford B. Hayes, a businessman who is no relation to the 19th president of the United States but has declared himself a 2012 candidate for president. If elected, he promises he’ll eliminate the IRS, withdraw the U.S. from the United Nations, and reestablish the gold standard.

“He wants to get back to the basics of how a country is run,” Hayes-Roberts said. “He’s not a Tea Partier, but I do think we’ve been taxed enough.”

Still, political or not, Hayes-Roberts is keeping a canny eye on the election calendar for her pageant’s launch in July 2012: “It is a presidential year, and this will help get people pumped up.”

 

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Gallery: Miss Klingon? 12 bizarre beauty pageants

Forget Miss America! These contests celebrate a different standard of beauty.

Photos: Miss World 2010

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  1. And the winner is...

    Beauty queens from around the globe competed at the 60th annual Miss World pageant, held on Saturday, Oct. 30 in Sanya, China. Miss United States, Alexandria Mills, beat out 114 contenders to take the crown, shedding tears as she waves to the crowd.

    Mills, who hails from Kentucky, said that the other contestants nicknamed her "KFC" for Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is "Ironic", she said, "because I’m a vegetarian." (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Winners embrace

    Alexandria Mills, Miss United States, is congratulated by 2009 Miss World Kaiane Aldorino from Gibraltar, who is wearing a white Galiano gown. (Liu Jin / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Crowning moment

    Former Miss World, Kaiane Aldorino of Gibraltar, crowns winner Miss United States Alexandria Mills. "I believe that this past month has made such and impact on my life, I can only imagine what the next year will bring … I want to help everyone that I possible can," Mills said in her 30-second spotlight speech before being chosen as Miss World. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Celebrate good times

    The top three -- runner-up Miss Botswana Emma Wareus, left, Miss United States Alexandria Mills, and Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini, who placed third, celebrate at the end of the 60th Miss World pageant. (Jason Lee / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Moment of truth

    Miss United States Alexandria Mills, right, Miss Ireland Emma Waldron, center and Miss China Tang Xiao, left, hold hands while waiting for the announcement of the winner of the 2010 Miss World pageant contest. (Alexander F. Yuan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Hi-five

    The top five contestants wait to find out who will win. From left, Miss Venezuela, Miss Botswana, Miss United States, MIss Ireland and Miss China. On her home turf, Miss China Tang Xiao made the crowd go wild when she was announced as a finalist. (Miss World Organization) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Pop of color

    Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini struts in her bright, flowing gown. She placed third in the competition. (Liu Jin / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Kind words

    Miss Botswana Emma Wareus smiles next to Miss United States as she is announced as the runner-up during the Miss World 2010 finals. Before the winner was crowned, Wareus' roommate was asked to describe her. "She is just what you think, beautiful inside and out," she said. (Liu Jin / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Beach babe

    Miss Puerto Rico Yara Santiago won the title of Beach Beauty before the finals, fast-tracking her to the top 25, but she didn't place in the top seven. (Alexander F. Yuan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Anxiously waiting

    Miss Finland Anne Nurminen, second row on the right, and other contestants wait eagerly to find out the who placed in the top 20. Nurminen did not place. (Jason Lee / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Preparing for success

    Miss Italy Giada Pezzaioli smiles in a beautiful, glittery white gown. Pezzaioli, 17, is a high school student and says she was learning Mandarin in preparation for the competition. She made it to the top seven. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Big ambitions

    Miss Netherlands Desiree Berg shows off her radiant look at the Miss World finals. Berg, 23, a student at University of Amsterdam medical school, speaks four languages and says she wants to start a fertility clinic. She was chosen for the top 25, but did not advance further. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Pretty in pink

    Strutting her stuff in a pink gown, Miss Bolivia Maria Cordova, 24, describes herself as "a sensitive person and a dreamer with great conviction." (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Black beauty

    Miss Greece Diamanto Gasteratou steals the show with a black studded ball gown. She didn't place in the competition. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Three times a lady

    Miss Mexico Anabel Sosa stands between Miss Mauritius Dalysha Soorga, left, and Miss Moldova Daria Zaiteva, right. None of them placed in the final rounds for Miss World. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Feathered frock

    Decked out in a bright red feathery number, Miss Poland Agata Szewiola, 21, dazzles the crowd. (Diego Azubel / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Colors of the world

    Contestants show off their colorful gowns at the Miss World pageant. Many of them also performed dances from their native countries, wearing traditional grab, during the "Dances of the World" segment. (Jason Lee / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Beat it

    The Li dancers start off the show, performing with drums and sticks. (Miss World Organization) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Cultural pride

    The dancers and drummers are Li, and ethnic minority group in China who live mainly on the southern Hainan island. (Miss World Organization) Back to slideshow navigation
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