Former Miss Murray/Rockette Lindsay Smith takes over Miss Murray Scholarship CompetitionOct 01, 2022 08:04PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
Current Miss Murray Director Lindsay Smith (l) and the late director, Leesa Lloyd. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Smith)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
No matter who stepped in to take the place of late Miss Murray Organization Director Leesa Lloyd, they would undoubtedly have had big shoes to fill. Fortunately, the new pageant director, Lindsay Smith, has made a living doing intricate footwork. Smith, a former Miss Murray and Radio City Rockette, has now taken over for Lloyd, who died unexpectedly earlier this year.
For nearly 27 years, Lloyd led the Miss Murray Pageant Scholarship Competition. She also taught dance and sociology for 36 years at Murray High School, mentoring thousands of students, including Smith. Lloyd’s influence on Smith was profound enough that Smith went on to become Miss Murray and a choreographer.
“Nobody can replace Leesa Lloyd,” Smith said. “Her impact on this community continues to astound and can never be measured. She challenged and lifted the people around her and encouraged them to become the best versions of themselves. The Miss Murray Organization is part of that legacy, and the goal is to keep it alive in her honor.”
Smith, Miss Murray 2006, spent five seasons as a Radio City Rockette and over a decade working for Walt Disney World as a choreographer, dancer and teacher. She recently returned to Utah and is the resident dance and movement specialist for Hale Centre Theatre and an adjunct faculty member in the Musical Theater Program at the University of Utah.
“This is the director we held out for. So excited we have her. Leesa would love it,” said Cal Jones, a committee member for the Miss Murray competition.
During Lloyd’s last pageant, all former Miss Murrays were invited to return in honor of the Miss America competition’s centennial anniversary. Morgan Workman was crowned Miss Murray and was ready to compete, with Lloyd’s help, in the Miss Utah event. Unfortunately, Lloyd passed away just days before the occasion, but other previous Miss Murrays volunteered to help Workman.
“I didn’t realize the journey that I had ahead of me or how much I was going to develop as a woman when I was crowned. However, as I look back on my year, I am like, ‘Wow!’ What a beautiful journey. Thank you, Miss Lloyd, for making me the woman I am today and for believing in all of my ideas,” Workman said.
Like Workman, Smith was part of the dance team at Murray High School. Smith, the team captain, graduated top of her class. She graduated cum laude with a degree in modern dance from the University of Utah.
With a degree in hand, Smith performed in “42nd Street” at Pioneer Memorial Theater. Then, at Disney World, she performed in musicals such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid” before auditioning to be part of the Rockettes.
As a choreographer, she worked at the Garden Theater and the Orlando Repertory Theater. She is presently credited as associate choreographer for Hale Centre Theatre’s production of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
As far as pageant experience, Smith also won Utah’s Junior Miss 2003, going on to compete for the title of America’s Junior Miss.
“Every young woman that participates in the Miss Murray program walks away with skills and experiences that they will utilize throughout their lives. This unique program is a year-round opportunity for women to earn scholarships, grow their networks, learn valuable life and career skills, and make a difference in their community. The Miss Murray Organization has a long history of empowering advocates and leaders of tomorrow,” Smith said.
After being postponed while the committee searched for a new director, the Miss Murray Pageant will be held at Hillcrest Junior High School on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. The occasion will also feature a spotlight on Lloyd and her legacy.
Eligibility to compete in Miss Murray is based on connection to the community. The contestant must live in zip codes 84107, 84123, or 84121, work in Murray, or be a graduate of Cottonwood or Murray high schools. Questions about how to participate in Lloyd’s tribute can be emailed to [email protected].