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Local pageant queen pursues elusive title

After her international travels and beauty pageant awards, there remains a title that Madera’s Maria Manzo wants to get: Miss California United States.

Manzo competed in the Miss California United States pageant last year and it was her first major competition after she was crowned Miss Central Valley.

However, after earning titles of Miss Earth United States Water and Miss Cuba, representing the country in the Miss Grand International in Thailand, Manzo is returning to her first major pageant, again with the title of Miss Central Valley. She competes Sunday in San Luis Obispo.

“I wanted to compete again,” Manzo said. “I had to make a decision. I coached a lot of the girls competing for my former title, Miss Central Valley. Out of nowhere, my director called me and told me the girl that I crowned as Miss Central Valley couldn’t compete because of financial hardship. Having two weeks to step on stage, she contacted me and wanted me to represent the Central Valley again.” ...

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