A former Miss New Mexico has finally gotten her chance to don the coveted crown, 68 years after she won the pageant.
Betha Young, who is now 90, never received a crown because of the effects of an economic crisis following World War II, according to the Miss America Organization.
Marissa Livingston, Miss New Mexico 2015, met Young in April during the Miss America Serves Week. Livingston's eighth grade choir teacher asked her to visit a retirement home where she was working; Young was among the residents.
“They arranged for Betha and I to have a fabulous lunch and she showed me all of her photos of her during her reign, and her Miss America program book. Betha and I connected instantly from the common bond of being the state titleholder, despite the nearly 70-year difference,” Livingston told InsideEdition.com.
“Betha was complimenting my crown, and as I had asked her about her crown, she informed me that she unfortunately never had a crown when she won," presenting her only with a "dingy sash," she said.
Livingston was shocked by the revelation. “Your crowning moment is one of the most special moments of your life. So incredibly moved by this, both my director and I wanted to arrange a special surprise crowning moment for her to give her the moment she has always deserved,” she said.
She got word that Betty Cantrell, the current Miss America, was visiting New Mexico and “knew this was the perfect opportunity to crown Betha,” she said. They invited Betha and her family to a meet and greet with Miss America but kept the crowning a surprise.
“Betha was invited up on stage, and Betty Cantrell, Miss America, crowned her. She finally got the crowning moment she deserved,” she said.
Livingston also revealed that Young was quite resourceful while competing in 1948. “Betha told me she borrowed a swimsuit, her mother made her evening gown, and she wore her ranch clothes. Her trip to Atlantic City was her first time ever leaving New Mexico,” she said.
“Betha has impacted my life so much and has inspired me as Miss New Mexico. Even at 90 years old, Betha is the epitome of class, grace, humility, and kindness,” she said.