MIAMI -- Christy Fichtner, a 23-year-old model from Dallas, was crowned Miss USA 1986 Tuesday night and will represent the United States in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant.
Fichtner, 'Miss Texas,' was chosen from five finalists that included Miss Mississippi, Cindy Williams, 22, of Hattiesburg; Miss Georgia, Tami Tesch, 21, of Hephzibah; Miss Ohio, Halle Berry, 19, of Oakwood Village, and Miss California, Kelly Parsons, 22, of Chatsworth.
The finals were telecast nationwide on CBS with Bob Barker as master of ceremonies.
Miss USA 1986, in addition to winning cash and prizes, automatically gains entry into the Miss Universe Pageant, scheduled for July in Panama City, Panama.
She will be crowned by reigning queen Laura Martinez-Herring, the Mexican-born Miss Texas, who became the first Hispanic woman to win the title of Miss USA.
'They are all involved in rehearsal right right now and we're not letting photographers or camera people in this afternoon,' spokesman Betsy Campbell said Tuesday. 'Everyone's really excited, but they are trying hard to stay calm.'
Several pageant preliminary contests already were decided: Miss Wyoming, Beth King, 21, of Cheyenne, was named Miss Photogenic; and Lisa Summerour-Perry, 23, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., was chosen as Miss Amity.
Winners of awards for the best state costumes were Miss Illinois, Tricia Boch, 22; Miss Arizona, Jody Armstrong, 21; and Miss New Hampshire, Lynda Mary Poulin, 21.
Awards in a photo-art competition were presented to Miss New Mexico, Heather Howell, 19; Miss Rhode Island, Donna Silva, 19; and Miss Utah, Stephanie Reber, 21.
Miss USA 1986 is automatically entered in the three-week Miss Universe Pageant in Panama in July. The finals of that pageant will be bradcast live by satellite from the ATLAPA Convention Center in Panama City.
It will mark the first time Panama has hosted the pageant in the 35-year history of the event, said George Honchar, president of Miss Universe, Inc.
He said he expects the pageant to provide the city with the same type of free publicity Miami has enjoyed through the Miss Teen USA pageants in 1985 and 1986, the Miss Universe Pageant in 1984 and this year's Miss USA.
Honchar said representatives of more than 80 countries are expected to compete for the title of Miss Universe in Panama City.