By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
Miss Illinois Megan Ervin won a Miss America preliminary competition Wednesday night at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Ervin, 23, of Rushville won the Lifestyle and Fitness (swimsuit) preliminary, which earned her a $1,000 Amway scholarship.
"We are so proud of her," said Mallory Ervin, Megan's sister, who is in Las Vegas with parents Jeff and Cindy Ervin and sister, Missy Ervin. "She also competed in her evening gown tonight and did amazing. She felt great after (Wednesday's preliminary) and is ready to take on talent (Thursday)."
Ervin won the Lifestyle and Fitness preliminary in a black, two-piece Catalina swimsuit. Her gown was designed by Chicago native Mac Duggal.
Ervin, who was crowned Miss Quincy in March and Miss Illinois in June, will perform a contemporary lyrical dance during Thursday night's talent preliminary. She answered her on-stage question during the first prelim on Tuesday and had her interview with the Miss America judges on Monday.
"Megan felt good about her interview," Mallory said. "She felt that she had strong answers for each question and said she was able to be herself, which is good."
Ervin's on-stage question on Tuesday related to her platform, the Heptathlon of Healthy Habits, which promotes fitness, nutrition, staying away from distracted driving, recycling, community service, spirituality and education.
"Megan did an awesome job with her on-stage question," said Lindsey Hess, executive director of the Miss Quincy Scholarship Program and Miss Quincy 2006. "She was able to talk about her platform ... and share her passion for the program."
Hess is among about 75 friends and family members who are in Las Vegas this week to provide support.
The Miss America finals will be televised on ABC from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday.
The 53 contestants are divided into three groups for the preliminary rounds, which began Tuesday. Tuesday's winners were Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton for talent and Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers for Lifestyle and Fitness. Miss Maryland Joanna Guy won the talent preliminary Wednesday.
For photos and updates about Ervin's journey, go to the Chasing the Crown blog.