Only On 6: Glitz, Glamour & Gripes

The controversial world of Glitz Pageants has made it to Texoma.

Numerous girls recently took to the stage, for the first ever glitz pageant in Wichita Falls.

Newschannel 6 went behind the scenes for a closer look at what's stirred up a heated debate across the nation.

For the past month we have been following two little girls. Tanner Sikes, 7, and Brylee Wyatt, 3, as they literally prepared to sparkle.

Tanner's family said she has loved pageants from the first second she was put on stage. The beauty queen has been winning the hearts of judges, and taking home titles since she was 12 months old.

"She would literally be behind the scenes screaming her eyes out, not because she didn't want to do it, but because she wanted on the stage. The second her foot hit the stage she was done, with a smile on her face and ready to go." said Tanner's GiGi, Bobbie Whatley.

Tanner's family was afraid she was missing out on other things, so they pulled her out of pageants when she hit pre-school, but that didn't stop Tanner from wanting to shine on stage.

"It didn't matter how many events or sports we put her in, it was always, when are we going to do the next pageant?" said Whatley.

Tanner's mom, Heather Sikes, tells Newschannel 6 "One thing I have always wanted Tanner to have is self confidence. I feel like doing something she loves, like pageants, gives her the opportunity for her self-confidence to grow. We always said the second she shows it's something she doesn't love we are done. I don't care how much money is invested."

Tanner even told Newschannel 6 herself just why she enjoys dressing up and taking on the pageant stage.

"When I'm in front of all the people it helps me not to be shy or anything when I'm in front of other people at different things. They're fun. You get the bling bling, you get your hair done, and makeup done." said Tanner Sikes.

So 3 1/2 years later, they are back in.

Pageant mom's call it, the ultimate dress up.

"Glitz is your dresses fully stoned, full make up, spray tan, flipper, eyelashes, hair piece, the total ultimate dress up." said Whatley.

Tanner's mom and Gigi both stress Tanner is beautiful whether she is glitz or natural, it's just about the fun of dress up.

They add they dress up comes with a price.

If you're starting from scratch a glitz pageant could cost you anywhere from $500 to $5,000, depending on if you're entering a local or national pageant.

It may seem like a lot, but they are quick to add if you want to compete in the glitz world, it needs to be all or nothing.

"Just like if you were playing football. You can't play it without the helmet, pads and all that. It's kind of like that with glitz. Everything they judge be sure you have it because you will be counted off," said Heather Sikes.

We also followed Brylee Wyatt, 3, as she prepared to take the Glitz stage for the first time.

Her mother, Ashley Wyatt, said the pageant world is something her and Brylee do together. She adds budgeting is key, since it does come with a cost.

Wyatt said being a toddler, her little girl plays around a little at the house during practice, but always seems to know what to do when they hit the stage.

The mother of 3, doesn't think her little girl understands she is up there to beat someone. But said instead believes she's up there to perform and leave with a crown.

But Glitz and Glamour comes with controversy.

People, who don't support putting toddlers in the pageant world, have very strong opinions about the issue. Opinions that sometimes verge on criticizing the way parents raise their children.

We wanted the Texoma mothers to address the critics head on with honest answers about why they put their daughters on the glitz stage.

One Texoma resident voiced this concern, "I think they should be careful. There are people who might try and take advantage, and they need to try not to sexualize the little girls too much."

Bobbie Whatley responded with this, "My thought is what kind of person are you that you're looking at a little girl and thinking that's sexual. When I sit at a pageant, that's the last thing that enters my mind. It's no different than them wearing a swimsuit, and running around a pool. There are people there you don't know too, and they are still having fun either way. What's the difference between a pageant and dance recital you're still putting makeup they still dance? The only difference is when it's over they don't get a crown."

Ashley Wyatt said, "Everyone dresses up for something Halloween, cheer leading, a dance recital. You have to look at it the same way."

The Miss Wichita Falls Pageant was somewhat of a first for the Falls.

Pageant Director Jamie Nesbitt said the decision to add the "glitz" to the competition this year goes back to her daughters days on the stage.

She said most of her daughters college is paid for thanks to savings bonds won through Glitz pageants.

Nesbitt knows the Glitz & Glamour doesn't come without some gripes from critics.She said that pageants are no different than what other parents do.

"They dress their kids up for Halloween, birthday parties and ballet. The only thing that's different between what they are doing and what we are doing is that these kids get their college paid. " said Nesbitt.

When it came time to crown the winners, Tanner was named The 2012-2013 Ultimate Little Miss Wichita Falls winner.

She also won numerous other titles, including Swimwear Diva, Glam Squad and Overall Photogenic.

Brylee took home Overall Casual Wear.

The Wichita Falls pageant was a Preliminary Glitz Competition, so winners will go on to compete in state and national competitions.

That's where Nesbitt said the girls have a chance to win cash and big prizes, including a college savings bond.

Winners of the Wichita Falls pageant signed a year contract, that includes 5 public appearances.

Nesbitt said it's a great chance for these Texoma Beauties to give back to the town they represent.

Click here for more on Pageant Mom's response to critics concerns.

Click here for a slide show of the Pageant Winners and more photo's of Tanner & Brylee.