Next month, a new group of girls, with visions of tiaras and crowns dancing in their heads, will take the stage and compete for the title of Miss Hesperia.

Empire Pageants will hold the 2008 Miss Hesperia, Miss Apple Valley and Miss Victorville pageants at Sultana High School on July 12. The pageant is sponsored by the Sultana SHS.

For Miss Victorville 2007 Brittany Wagner, a 2006 graduate of Sultana High School, it was visions of a tiara of her own that led her to enter the world of pageants.

"I actually got involved when I was 11, because I saw some girls driving, and they were wearing their crowns in their car, and I told my mom I wanted crowns like that," Wagner said.

That year, she entered the Miss Victor Valley pageant at Hook Junior High School in Victorville.

"It was extremely nerve-wracking, because we didn't know what to do," Wagner said. "Winning second princess, I won a little crown and some mini-trophies. I liked that part, so I decided to keep on going."

And as she climbed the ladder -- Empire Pageants has titles for each age bracket -- Wagner continued to compete even as high school activities competed for her time and attention.

"I also was involved in High Desert cheer. That was also a sport that didn't have to deal with school," Wagner said. "I was more into with being involved with my community, and not just my school. I saw more opportunities with pageants and where that would take me. ... I was in ASB and [the freshman mentoring program] Link Crew; those things helped me with my pageants."

Not to mention, "it looked great on my resume."

Since being named Miss Hesperia and Miss Empire America, Wagner has traveled other pageants -- she was named sixth runner up for Miss California in 2007 -- and is finishing up her second year at Victor Valley College, before attending a film academy in Los Angeles in the fall.

"Even when you don't have a crown or a trophy, it's still an amazing experience. You learn so much about yourself doing the pageant," she said. "You gain confidence and other skills, like interviewing and [public speaking]. ... You really have to get in touch with who you are in order to present that to the judges."

Registration for the 2008 Miss Hesperia, Miss Apple Valley and Miss Victorville pageants will take place on Saturday, June 21 and Saturday, June 28 at the Comfort Suites Victorville, 12281 Mariposa Road, from noon to 4 p.m. Registration is $25. Call 955-1711 or (951) 360-9087 for more information.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.