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Miss USA contestants say the show must go on

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BATON ROUGE - Ten of the Miss USA contestants arrived by the Capital Park Trolley to take on the rock climbing wall at BREC's Perkins Road Extreme Park Wednesday evening.

It's their first public appearance since arriving in Baton Rouge earlier this week. Miss Ohio, Virginia, Illinois, New Mexico, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Michigan were in attendance.

They traded in their high heels for sneakers and kept a strategy in mind.

"I'm just going to try to not fall off," said Miss Massachusetts, Polikseni Manxhari. "I just want to make it to the top, I just want to say I accomplished that."

The women welcomed cameras and lights for a Miss Universe shoot that will air during the July 12 pageant. All keeping in mind that the pageant has turned out a little different this year after NBC dropped ties with Donald Trump, partial owner of the Miss Universe Organization. The broadcast has been dropped and judges, sponsors and hosts have followed suit.

The contestants say the show must go on and it's not changing their attitude or aspirations for the crown.

"It is a little stressful, but it's not changing any of us and how we're getting ready to compete for Miss USA," said Miss Vermont, Jackie Croft.

"You know, everything is going to be OK," said Manxhari. "We're just blessed to be here and honored. We just take it day by day and have a good time."

Whether the show broadcasts nationally or not, it doesn't matter to the woman representing the state where their from.

"We all still want to win the title," said Croft. "None of our goals have changed, we just might not be on TV this year."

The contestants have public appearances leading up to the pageant at the Baton Rouge River Center.


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