What to know for the final competition

In 1952, a bathing beauty competition in Long Beach, Calif. began what is today the Miss USA competition. The first woman to hold the title Miss USA was Jackie Loughery. Since then, more than 60 women have received the crown. The competition features girls from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.

The road to becoming Miss USA: The first step to becoming Miss USA is to win a state competition. Entry forms for Miss New Mexico USA are available online at missnewmexico-usa.com.

Miss USA 2013: The former Miss Connecticut USA Erin Brady won the competition last year.

Outreach: Miss USA becomes a spokesperson for breast and ovarian cancer education, prevention and awareness.

Watch it live: This year's competition will be streamed live at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sunday from Baton Rouge, La. on NBC.

FOR MORE ON the Miss usa competition, VISIT www.missuniverse.com

FARMINGTON — Kamryn Blackwood first decided she wanted to be Miss USA in 2012.

After years of hard work, her dreams are on the verge of coming true.

Blackwood, the current Miss New Mexico USA, will compete in the preliminary Miss USA competition on Wednesday and in the finals on Sunday. The final competition will be broadcast live on NBC.

Blackwood has spent the last week in Louisiana where she has been making daily appearances and gotten to know the other competitors.

"It's my fourth day and I'm having the time of my life," Blackwood said when reached by phone on Thursday.

She said the competitors are all nice and want the best for each other.

"We're really just kind of learning what we need to do," she said.

She has been mentally preparing for the preliminaries — which consists of a personal interview and gown and swimming suit previews. While preparing, she is also trying to stay relaxed.

"It can get really stressful quickly," she said.

Blackwood said being an athlete and having an athlete's mind-set has given her an advantage because she can compartmentalize and understand that "when I step on the court, it's court time and when I'm in a classroom its class time."

Because of this, she said she is able to give all of herself to whatever she is doing.

Blackwood's athletic career recently ended with her final collegiate tennis tournament in April. She described the experience as sort of surreal. As she played in her last game, she said she thought back to the day when she decided to put in the practice time to get onto a college tennis team. She also thought about when she received the tennis scholarship to play at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

"Time really flew by," Blackwood said.

She says her time as Miss New Mexico USA has taught her about staying true to who she is.

"With all of the publicity that comes with it, people can lose themselves really quickly," she said.

She said she is anxious about Wednesday's preliminaries.

"It really is in God's hands," she said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.