Many Miss Destins have gone on to accomplish big things, not just for the “world’s luckiest fishing village,” but for our region, state and beyond. In fact, you never know where former Miss Destins will appear next! Miss Destin 1984, Mona Ponder, was officially Destin’s First Lady, as her husband Mel served as Destin’s mayor. As a local realtor, Mona stays busy with her job and plays a supporting role for her husband as he serves in Florida’s House of Representatives. She also serves as a board member for Waves Ministry Inc., and has a business ministry called Business Empowered with Mel. Who remembers Mona’s days on the docks?
Miss Destin 2011, Peyton LoCicero continues to shine the spotlight on all Destin has to offer as a television news reporter for ABC News affiliate WMBB TV News 13. Peyton covers Okaloosa and Walton County for the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. Peyton said, “Serving as Miss Destin 2011 was more than just a title, it was an honor. The people that I met and the experiences that I was a part of were life changing.”
“From meeting anglers, who have fished Destin’s waters for generations to watching small children bring in their very first fish,” said Peyton, “each day brought new opportunities and adventures. During my 31 days down on the Rodeo weigh-in docks, I saw it all…big fish and little fish, huge alligators, sharks, tuna and more.”
Peyton said one of her favorite memories down on the docks was meeting a young girl, age 5, named Pearl. “It was a Saturday morning and the fishing was slow. Then all of a sudden, here comes a precious little blonde running down the docks with the biggest smile. Pearl had a fish in one hand and a fishing pole in the other. She was ecstatic to weigh in her very own fish and the crowd went wild. I also enjoyed serving as a community ambassador around town and representing the Destin community at the state capital in Tallahassee, following the BP Oil Spill.”
“To be a part of Destin’s history, for the rest of time, is special to me because this is the place I will always call home,” said Peyton.
With an immense love for the Destin community, many former Miss Destins come back each year to help judge the Destin Fishing Rodeo. Angela Hayles, Miss Destin 1997, is even on the rodeo’s Board of Directors!
This year’s Miss Destin is Ellen Brown, a student at Niceville High School graduating in 2019. When she’s not being Miss Destin, she works at Crosspoint Church as a graphic design intern and is a member of the praise and worship team where she sings and plays guitar. She plans to continue studying graphic design upon graduation. We are looking forward to the great things coming from Ellen in the future!