On the way to crowning the 75th titleholder, the Miss Kansas Pageant got right down to business. Thirty-six contestants moved into the dormitory at Pratt Community College on Sunday morning and competed in the first preliminary round on Tuesday night.

At the end of the evening, Makayla Weiser, a 20-year-old Kansas State University student from Bonner Springs, won a preliminary award for talent, with a ballet en pointe performance to “Fuego.”

She’s been dancing since she was four, got her first toe shoes at 11 and has been practicing for the pageant since February. She gives credit to her ballet coach who pushed her hard every day to get the hard work done.

Weiser also competed in the 2014 Miss Kansas Pageant.

Newcomer Kendall Schoenekase, Overland Park, won the preliminary award for swimsuit. She is a 22-year-old graduate of the University of Arkansas and currently employed as a medical-surgical nurse. A full-time working woman, she said she also found time to work out at a gym four times a week, with a trainer who “pushed me to the absolute max to be the best I can possibly be.”

The second round of competition will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, also at the Dennis Lesh Arena at Pratt Community College. Final competition is at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Sharing the week with the Miss Kansas contestants are 21 candidates for the Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen title. Two preliminary competitions are slated for Friday at Liberty Middle School, with finals at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lesh Arena.

Watch for a complete story of preliminary competitions in Thursday’s Tribune and online.