Completing The Ride<BR>

Clara Nuckels of Kingman looks over travel information as she prepares to compete in the Miss Globe International Beauty Pageant, which will be held in Durres, Albania, next month.

Miner Photo/TERRY ORGAN

She will be the United States representative in the Miss Globe International Beauty Pageant, which is being sponsored by the tourism bureaus of Albania and Kosovo, according to Jeep Malone.

Malone is the founder of Empire Pageants, an organization based in Riverside, Calif., that has conducted pageants for 16 years and sent young women to several international events.

"This is an opportunity for Clara to represent our country, so when other people see her they'll begin to understand what America is all about," Malone said.

"Clara is tall and very attractive, but I don't select girls just on that basis.

Their personality is key and it's my hope other girls at the pageant will go home and say they like the American girl and that she's wonderful."

Nuckels, 19, attended Kingman High School for over three years.

She graduated in May 2003 from Mohave Accelerated Learning School, a charter school in Bullhead City.

The brown-eyed brunette is 5-foot-10.

She is considering a teaching career and is most interested in working with children in the pre-school to first-grade age range.

Nuckels must pay her own airfare to the pageant in Durres, Albania.

Lodging, meals, sightseeing and everything else will be paid by pageant officials, she said.

"I'm scared of flying, but very comfortable with everything else about the trip," she said.

"We'll be very protected with chaperones ensuring we go nowhere alone.

"Albania may seem like an odd place for a beauty pageant.

But it will be held on some beautiful beaches and should seem very tropical."

In April, Nuckels won the Miss Mohave County Pageant.

She next will compete Aug.

20-22 in the Miss Empire Pageant in San Bernardino, Calif.

and it was her entry into that event that made her eligible for the Miss Globe International Pageant, Malone said.

The event in Albania will have judging in three categories – swimsuit, evening gown and national costume.

Nuckels said she will portray the Statue of Liberty by wearing a "Lady Liberty" gown in the national costume competition.

The pageant winner gets $5,000, Malone said.

Awards for runners-up range from $1,500 to $3,000.

Subsidiary titles that will be won include Best National Costume, Miss Photogenic, Miss Friendship, Miss Press Princess, Miss Personality, Miss Elegance, and Best Smile Award.

At least 44 countries will be represented by young women in the 18-25 age range.

Nuckels flies to Albania on Aug.

31 and plans to visit orphanages in the country as one activity prior to the Sept.

14 pageant.

She returns home Sept.

16.

"The trip will give me more experience around children," she said.

"I want to visit orphanages, which is where the brains of young children begin to develop.

They need to be loved and hugged so they can start to gain a sense of trust and self-worth."

Nuckels said she probably will enroll at a college in the Phoenix area next semester.

Melissa Timm controls her horse so she can complete her pattern Saturday during a National Barrel Horse Racing Association event at Mohave County Fairgrounds.