A former Forsyth County commissioner has been crowned Ms. Senior Georgia.
Longtime west Forsyth resident Linda Ledbetter said she was "absolutely shocked" to take home top honors at last weekend's event, which measured talent, interview and essay skills for contestants age 60 and older. It also featured an evening gown competition.
The pageant's executive director, Karla Reeves, said what sets the Ms. Senior Georgia queen apart for most judges is "something that's hard to define ... but I call it sparkle."
Reeves said it's important that the queen should "represent us well, hold the ideas of the pageant truly in her heart, and Linda does. Boy howdy, does she."
Ledbetter said she felt "very lucky" to have done so well at the event, which was held Sunday at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center.
"I knew I'd get in the top few, because I had a pretty good talent, and I looked OK," Ledbetter said. "I figured I'd be in the top bunch, but I was surprised when I won."
Being crowned queen means Ledbetter will travel around the state with a group of entertainers called the Dazzling Dames, who are former pageant contestants and members of the Georgia Classic Club.
She may even get to sing the national anthem at an upcoming Atlanta Braves game.
"That's my favorite song to sing," Ledbetter said.
For the talent portion of the pageant, Ledbetter sang "Someone to Watch Over Me" by George Gershwin.
After doing well in this and other categories she received a "huge crown, a big sash, some money and a bunch of gifts."
"I couldn't fit all the gifts in my car," she said.
Ledbetter served one term as a District 5 Forsyth County commissioner, but chose not to seek re-election last year.
She's no stranger to pageants. About 43 years ago, Ledbetter was crowned Ms. Cherokee County and attended the Ms. Georgia pageant.
According to Reeves, the mission of Ms. Senior Georgia is to "promote a more active and dynamic senior."
"Those older than 60 are not at the end of their lives," she said. "They're not even at the beginning of the end of their lives."