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“Big opportunity” – Family tradition leads to Sierra Wiltz winning title of cavOILcade Queen

Nederland High School senior Sierra Wiltz is looking forward to the responsibility of being the cavOILcade queen for 2020-21.

“The responsibility I hold is going out and volunteering in the community and representing the cavOILcade organization the best way I can and be a role model for younger girls, and that is what I hope to be,” Sierra said, less than a week after being crowned cavOILcade Queen.

The pageant was held Oct. 17 at Groves Middle School.

“It’s a big opportunity,” Sierra said. “It opens many doors for myself. I’m very proud to represent the cavOILcade organization and to be able to go out and volunteer in the community.”

From left: Miss Congeniality Justice Bell, Queen Sierra Wiltz, first runner-up Veronica Reyes and Most Photogenic Ashley Sanderson. (Leo Weeks Photographers)

Participating in pageants runs in her family. Her mother, Dana Esqueda-Wiltz, was third runner-up out of 60 contestants in the 1990 cavOILcade, and Dana’s sister, Cassie Esqueda-Guy, participated in the 2002 pageant.

“I’ve been doing pageants since I was a little girl,” Sierra said. “The cavOILcade was always talked about in my family.”

Dana was excited to know her daughter was excited about taking part in cavOILcade.

“To see her actually win was, … it was thrilling to know she’s going to represent cavOILcade this upcoming year,” Dana said. “I think she’ll do really good.”

Veronica Reyes of Sabine Pass School was named first runner-up. Ashley Sanderson of Sabine Pass won the title of Most Photogenic, Justice Bell of Memorial High School won Miss Congeniality and Cade Latiolais of Port Neches-Groves High School was the escort winner.

Sierra also won a $1,500 scholarship, which she plans to use toward studying biology at Texas A&M University.

She plans to become a dermatologist after graduation.

“I’ve kind of always been infatuated with skin and skin care,” Wiltz said. “Helping others is a big part of what I want to do when I get older.”

The Port Arthur Sertoma Club sponsored Sierra in cavOILcade. The events leading to the pageant began in late August, she said.

For the pageant, each participant wrote an essay that accounted for 30 percent of the score, did an interview that accounted for 50 percent and participated in the stage program for the other 20 percent.

“It teaches many different skills to you becoming a young woman,” Sierra said. “We have a portrait showing and etiquette dinner. It shows you many different skills and you get to meet and grow close with other young ladies in the Southeast Texas area.”

Waking up the morning after her coronation, Sierra told her mom “It felt like a dream.”

Dana said she was excited about winning her own scholarship when she participated in 1990.

“You go into it thinking about the experience you’ll have and meeting new people and going to all the different events with your escort,” Wiltz said. “And then you go to the pageant. To see Sierra win the title, it’s special.”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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