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Miss Kentucky USA and Teen USA Titleholder History

Your ultimate Miss USA state pageant resource

Take a trip back into the history of the Miss Kentucky USA and Teen USA pageants, from the first winner to the most recent. Get to know every single Miss and Teen titleholder with a full listing, hometown map and extensive photo archive, with state pageant photos, Miss USA and Teen USA competition photos and more.

Current and former titleholders at Miss KY USA 2022 • Edwin Shaw
Current and former titleholders at Miss KY USA 2022 • Edwin Shaw

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A guide to the state titleholder listings...

Miss Kentucky USA and Teen USA Titleholder History

This Miss Kentucky USA history archive starts with the very first representative Jean Tingle, who made the news as the first to marry one of the men she met when competing at Miss USA – less than two months after the pageant! Kentucky is home to two Miss USAs, both crowned in the last 20 years, Tara Conner of Russellville and Elle Smith of Louisville. Tara is one of two Kentucky women who placed in the top five at both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA, the other being Kristen Johnson. Kentucky pageant winners once hailed from all across the state, but in recent years there has been a trend towards Miss winners residing in Louisville. 2023 winner Madalyne Kinnett is the first to hail from Lexington since the aforementioned Jean Tingle in 1952 – and the first to come from outside Louisville since 2014! Miss Kentucky USA 1976 Connie Clark later directed the pageants for many decades. They are now under the direction of Miss Ohio USA 1990 Melissa Proctor Pitchford and Proctor Productions.

Miss USA and Miss Teen USA titleholders from Kentucky

MISS USA 2006

Tara Conner

20 • Russell Springs

4th runner-up
at Miss Universe

MISS USA 2021

Elle Smith

23 • Louisville

Top 10
at Miss Universe

Miss Kentucky USA titleholders 1952-2022

Recent titleholders

2019
Kentucky USA icon 2019
Jordan Weiter

22 • Louisville

 
 

2020
Kentucky USA icon 2020
Lexie Iles

24 • Louisville

 
 

2021
Kentucky USA icon 2021
Elle Smith

23 • Louisville

Winner of
Miss USA 2021

2022
Kentucky USA icon 2022
Lizzy Neutz

23 • Louisville

 
 

2023
Kentucky USA icon 2023
Madalyne Kinnett

21 • Lexington

 
 

Placements and Awards Summary

Placements

Winner

Tara Conner (2006), Elle Smith (2021)

2nd runner-up

Kristen Johnson (2005)

3rd runner-up

Julie Andrus (1965)

4th runner-up

Johanna Reid (1964), Patricia Barnstable (1971), Lisa Devillez (1980), Kristina Chapman (1982), Maria Montgomery (2009)

Top 5/6

Tiffany Tenfelde (1990), Angela Hines (1992)

Semi-finalist

Mary Stice (1953), Marcia Chumbler (1961), Sally Margaret Carter (1962), Carol June Wallace (1975), Mitzi Jones (1995)

Top 8/10/11*

Katie George (2015)

* Where the semi-finalists are cut in multiple stages before the top 5 or 6

Awards

Congeniality

Kay Pinkley (1968), Connie Clark (1976), Kia Hampton (2011)

Photogenic

Robin Overby (1985)

State Costume

Charlesy Gulick (1974)

Miss Kentucky USA 2006 Tara Conner with Miss Kentucky USA 2005 Kristen Johnson.  Both were former Miss Kentucky Teen USA titleholders and placed 2RU at Miss Teen USA.  Tara went on to become Miss USA 2006.
Miss Kentucky USA 2006 Tara Conner with Miss Kentucky USA 2005 Kristen Johnson – Miss USA 2006 and 2nd runner-up at Miss USA 2006. They are both former Miss KY Teen USA titleholders, finishing 2RU at Miss Teen USA 2000 & 2002.

Full Titleholder Listing

IMAGEYEARNAMEHOMETOWNAGEPLACEMENTAWARDNOTES
2023Madalyne KinnettLexington22
2022Lizzy NeutzLouisville23
2021ELLE SMITHLouisville23Miss USA
2020Lexie IlesLouisville24
2019Jordan WeiterLouisville22
2018Braea TilfordLouisville25
2017Madelynne MyersLouisville22
2016Kyle HornbackLouisville20
2015Katie GeorgeLouisville21Top 11
2014Destin KincerWhitesburg21
2013Allie LeggettWhitley City19
2012Amanda MertzLouisville25
2011Kia HamptonLouisville21Congeniality
2010Kindra ClarkMt. Washington19
2009Maria MontgomeryDanville194th runner-up
2008Alysha HarrisCarrollton20
2007Michelle BanzerLouisville24Previously Miss KY Teen USA 2002 (2RU Teen USA); 4RU Miss Universe
2006TARA CONNER*Russell Springs20Miss USAPreviously Miss KY Teen USA 2000 (2RU Miss Teen USA)
2005Kristen Johnson*Slaughters232nd runner-up
2004Lauren StengelLouisville22
2003Lori MitchellScottsville21
2002Elizabeth Arnold*Columbia22Previously Miss KY Teen USA 1998
2001Jo PritchardHardin23
2000Jolene YoungsterGlasgow23
1999Lori Menshouse^Ashland26Previously Miss KY 1997
1998Nancy BradleyFranklin23
1997Rachyl HoskinsLiberty22
1996Lorie WestCampbellsville22
1995Mitzi JonesWhite Plains22Semi-finalist
1994Kim BufordPaducah26
1993Karen GibsonKevil
1992Angela HinesMaysvilleTop 6
1991Susan FarrisBenton
1990Tiffany TenfeldeLakeside ParkTop 6
1989Veronica HensleyDanville
1988Suzanne PitmanMurray
1987Beth ClarkMayfield
1986Jackie TaylorPaducah
1985Robin OverbyCalvert CityPhotogenic
1984Tammy MelendezMurray
1983Lee Ann AustinBenton
1982Kristina ChapmanOwensboro4th runner-up
1981Denise GibbsPaducah
1980Lisa DevillezOwensboro4th runner-up
1979Linda PassmoreHopkinsville
1978Linda WoodruffLouisville
1977Sandy SmithPrinceton23Previously Miss WY 1976; mother of Miss KY 2002
1976Connie ClarkBentonCongenialityLater the director of Miss KY USA for many decades
1975Carol June Wallace^SomersetSemi-finalist
1974Charlesy GulickWilliamstownState Costume
1973Nancy CoplenMayfield
1972Tamara BranstetterSummer Shade18
1971Patricia BarnstableLouisville194th runner-up
1970Joanna SmithMorgantown19
1969Regina PryorLeitchfield20
1968Kay PinkleyMurray19Congeniality
1967Debbie DibbleMurray18
1966Jennifer BurchamHickman18
1965Julie AndrusMayfield183rd runner-up2009
1964Johnna ReidPaducah194th runner-up
1963Mary Ann ArnoldCalvert City20
1962Sally Margaret CarterMayfield19Semi-finalist
1961Marcia ChumblerMayfield18Semi-finalist
1960Barbara Joan LovinsAlexandria19
1959Sherree OwensLouisville22
1958Shannon BeasleyHenderson22
1957Did Not Compete
1956Did Not Compete
1955Did Not Compete
1954Nikki HornerProspect28
1953Mary SticePaducah19Semi-finalist
1952Jean TingleLexington20
YEARNAMEHOMETOWNAGEPLACEMENTAWARDNOTES
2023Madalyne KinnettLexington22
2022Lizzy NeutzLouisville23
2021ELLE SMITHLouisville23Miss USA
2020Lexie IlesLouisville24
2019Jordan WeiterLouisville22
2018Braea TilfordLouisville25
2017Madelynne MyersLouisville22
2016Kyle HornbackLouisville20
2015Katie GeorgeLouisville21Top 11
2014Destin KincerWhitesburg21
2013Allie LeggettWhitley City19
2012Amanda MertzLouisville25
2011Kia HamptonLouisville21Congeniality
2010Kindra ClarkMt. Washington19
2009Maria MontgomeryDanville194th runner-up
2008Alysha HarrisCarrollton20
2007Michelle BanzerLouisville24Previously Miss KY Teen USA 2002 (2RU Teen USA); 4RU Miss Universe
2006TARA CONNER*Russell Springs20Miss USAPreviously Miss KY Teen USA 2000 (2RU Miss Teen USA)
2005Kristen Johnson*Slaughters232nd runner-up
2004Lauren StengelLouisville22
2003Lori MitchellScottsville21
2002Elizabeth Arnold*Columbia22Previously Miss KY Teen USA 1998
2001Jo PritchardHardin23
2000Jolene YoungsterGlasgow23
1999Lori Menshouse^Ashland26Previously Miss KY 1997
1998Nancy BradleyFranklin23
1997Rachyl HoskinsLiberty22
1996Lorie WestCampbellsville22
1995Mitzi JonesWhite Plains22Semi-finalist
1994Kim BufordPaducah26
1993Karen GibsonKevil
1992Angela HinesMaysvilleTop 6
1991Susan FarrisBenton
1990Tiffany TenfeldeLakeside ParkTop 6
1989Veronica HensleyDanville
1988Suzanne PitmanMurray
1987Beth ClarkMayfield
1986Jackie TaylorPaducah
1985Robin OverbyCalvert CityPhotogenic
1984Tammy MelendezMurray
1983Lee Ann AustinBenton
1982Kristina ChapmanOwensboro4th runner-up
1981Denise GibbsPaducah
1980Lisa DevillezOwensboro4th runner-up
1979Linda PassmoreHopkinsville
1978Linda WoodruffLouisville
1977Sandy SmithPrinceton23Previously Miss WY 1976; mother of Miss KY 2002
1976Connie ClarkBentonCongenialityLater the director of Miss KY USA for many decades
1975Carol June Wallace^SomersetSemi-finalist
1974Charlesy GulickWilliamstownState Costume
1973Nancy CoplenMayfield
1972Tamara BranstetterSummer Shade18
1971Patricia BarnstableLouisville194th runner-up
1970Joanna SmithMorgantown19
1969Regina PryorLeitchfield20
1968Kay PinkleyMurray19Congeniality
1967Debbie DibbleMurray18
1966Jennifer BurchamHickman18
1965Julie AndrusMayfield183rd runner-up2009
1964Johnna ReidPaducah194th runner-up
1963Mary Ann ArnoldCalvert City20
1962Sally Margaret CarterMayfield19Semi-finalist
1961Marcia ChumblerMayfield18Semi-finalist
1960Barbara Joan LovinsAlexandria19
1959Sherree OwensLouisville22
1958Shannon BeasleyHenderson22
1957Did Not Compete
1956Did Not Compete
1955Did Not Compete
1954Nikki HornerProspect28
1953Mary SticePaducah19Semi-finalist
1952Jean TingleLexington20

State and Miss USA Photo Album