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Miss Nevada County 2003 crowned

Pageant winners past and present share the stage. They are from left to right: Genevieve Finch (2001), Jasmine Silva (2002) and Sarah Wohlgemuth (2003).
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Several years ago, Sarah Wohlgemuth took part in a small medically-themed movie filmed partially at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s outpatient center.

It was during a time when Wohlgemuth, 24, a 1996 graduate of Bear River High School, contemplated life as a thespian and artist.

Her brief acting career, however, had nothing to do with choosing her career.



The movie, “Code 2000,” was more Hollywood than hospital ward, Wohlgemuth admits. “I enjoyed it, but I felt like it was very unrealistic.”

It wasn’t until Wohlgemuth sought inspiration from her family that she found her true calling.




Wohlgemuth, crowned Miss Nevada County 2003 Sunday night, is at Sierra College, working toward graduating from the nursing program in May. She then hopes to attend California State University, Sacramento and graduate with a bachelor’s of science in nursing.

Wohlgemuth’s medical inspiration is drawn in part from her mother, Wanda Meixner, who works as a clinical care provider on the surgical unit at SNMH, and her sister-in-law, Michelle, who works in the hospital’s women and infant care unit.

“They have guided me along and given me encouragement,” said Wohlgemuth, one of five contestants this year at the Miss Nevada County pageant. Wohlgemuth, whose platform includes awareness of women’s health issues, continues on to the Miss California pageant in Fresno June 25-28. This is the third year the Miss Nevada County pageant has sent representatives to the state competition. The winner of the state pageant then moves on to the venerable Miss America pageant in Atlantic City.

Wohlgemuth has participated in the last two Miss Nevada County contests. For winning and advancing to the state competition Sunday, she was awarded $1,500 in scholarships from the Miss Nevada County organization and from Nevada County supervisors.

At Sunday’s pageant, the runner-up was Jessica Ann Bamber, 20, who attends Sierra College. Miss Congeniality was Kassi Johnson, 17, who attends Nevada Union High School. Also participating in the pageant were Oksana Ivashchenko, 18, who goes to the University of the Pacific and Sylvia Dean, 17, who attends Bear River High School.

The local pageant’s executive director, Patricia Smith, is a classmate of Wohlgemuth’s at Sierra College. This is the pageant’s third year, and Smith is working to boost recognition despite producing the show with minimal assistance. “I’m going to keep plugging away at this,” said Smith, noting that local contests in such jurisdictions as Mendocino ($21,000 in prizes and scholarships) and Santa Clara counties ($21,000 in prizes and scholarships) often produce numerous candidates.

The contest places a premium on scholarly and community-service platforms – departure from the beauty pageants of the past. The “beauty” portion of the event is referred to as physical fitness.

“It wasn’t all about the swimsuit,” said Wohlgemuth, who plans a career as a nurse practitioner.

Wohlgemuth said the pageant can be a springboard to help others further their educational and career goals.

“Nevada County has such amazing and talented young women that are well educated,” said Wohlgemuth, who believes there’s nothing stopping her from walking down the stage in Atlantic City in a few months.

“For Nevada County, to be as small as we are, to play such an esteemed role would be fantastic.”


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