Family, friends and fans show support to Miss USA contestants

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The big night of the Miss USA Pageant is still a few days away, but the contest got underway Wednesday night with the first round of preliminaries, with family and friends in the audience to cheer on their favorite contestants.

Many of the visitors to Louisiana have taken some time to enjoy some of those unique things the state has to offer.

"I got a little heartburn from some jambalaya I had at the airport," said Ron Wessel, father of Miss Arizona. "I loved it. It was good."

Some other people also showed up for the event, many with signs, to send good luck vibes to the 51 contestants.

"My role is mainly to support my Miss sister," said Miss Teen Minnesota Catherine Stanley. "And I can't wait to cheer her on, Haley O'Brien, Miss Minnesota."

"I hope they're not feeling nervous," said Miss Teen Louisiana Mary Risner. "I hope they're feeling energetic and excited just to show everybody what they've got because they're at Miss USA. It's an amazing experience."

While that experience of a lifetime is coming to a close as we near Sunday, the support systems of these young ladies just hope they're taking in each and every moment.

"I want her to do well, but she's just excited she's here and she's excited for the opportunity to do something she never expected to do," Wessel added.

The interview portion of the pageant will be held Thursday evening at the Baton Rouge River Center.

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