Well, Bethany Richardson wanted to try new things. This summer, she'll be competing in the Miss California pageant.


Richardson, a 2010 Sultana High School graduate, won the Miss Victor Valley Scholarship Pageant on Feb. 11.


"I saw the ad in the newspaper," Richardson said Friday. "One of my goals for this year was to do new things."


Unlike some of her 11 competitors, she was new to the world of pageants.


"My previous view about pageants was, 'Oh, it's just a beauty pageant,'" she said. "But when I really looked into it, it was a scholarship pageant and it represents more than just beauty. It kind of overrode my preconceived notions."


The Miss America organization is the world's largest provider of scholarship money to women, awarding more than $45 million in cash and scholarships in 2011. Richardson won $1,200 for winning the Miss Victor Valley title and will be attending Victor Valley College this summer. She has dreams of being a professional actress and intends to major in performing arts.


She and the other Miss Victor Valley competitors had good teachers: Both Miss California 2010, Arianna Afsar, and Miss California 2011, Noelle Freeman, were on hand as performers.


"I talked to Noelle a lot," Richardson said. "She was actually mentoring us girls before our interviews."


Freeman was inadvertently responsible for this incarnation of the Miss Victor Valley pageant, as she was friends with pageant founder Jean McSwain.


"I did fundraising for breast cancer a year ago, and that's how I met Miss California 2010," McSwain said. "Since I own (the Athena Jean) salon and spa, I thought I'd do something as a community service."


Her first year in the pageant game, McSwain ended up raising more than $12,200 in scholarships for local girls. And this summer, her first winner will compete at the statewide level.


"When I went into it, I thought, 'This is cool. It'd be awesome to win,'" Richardson said. "I doubted myself, because there were other girls who'd already been in pageants. When I won, I was kind of in denial."


Richardson will compete against approximately 60 other girls in the Miss California 2012 pageant from June 26 through June 30 in Fresno. This time, though, she'll be up against nothing but pageant veterans.


"I'm just going to try my hardest," she said, "and anything's possible."


For more information on the pageants, visit MissVictorValley.com and MissCalifornia.org.