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Austin Peay makes the "New York Times"

October 29, 2001

Austin Peay's proximity to Fort Campbell and its selection as the site of a preliminary to the Miss Tennessee beauty pageant led a mention in a recent edition of the "New York Times."

Reporter Fox Butterfield, sent by the magazine to ferret out stories about the 101st Airborne's role in the war against Afghanistan, found a more human story: a young woman facing the biggest night and the biggest decision she'd ever confronted.

Somer Neumann, a senior at Austin Peay, had prepared for months to be a contestant in the Miss Tennessee beauty pageant and now faced the question, Should the show go on?

Taking her cue from President Bush, who encouraged Americans to "get back to work, don't let terrorists win," Neumann made her decision, and that decision became a quote in the magazine: "Whoever wins Miss Tennessee will represent the state in the Miss USA contest, and they could end up representing the United States in Miss Universe. At a time like this, we have to have the best woman representing the United States, to show the world who we are."

And so, the magazine reports, on it went. The pageant, with 32 contestants from across the state, was held as scheduled. Unfortunately for Butterfield, the story was not to have a perfect ending. The crown went to Allison Alderson of Jackson. Miss Neumann was not among the finalists.