Sullivan County Democrat
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She's All That!

Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

THE NEW QUEEN: Miss Monticello Raceway 2000 Ariella Riposta of Sussex NJ (second from left), smiles after her coronation on Sunday. Others in photo, from the left, are second runner-up Maria Golodner of NYC, first runner-up Jodi Pruttis of Newburgh. and 1999 Miss Monticello Raceway Martina Jakova of Slovakia, who works at Nashopa Camp in Bloomingburg.

New Miss Monticello Crowned

By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO — July 25, 2000 – The action at Monticello Raceway Sunday afternoon featured a little bit of everything.
Aside from the day’s races, spectators were treated to pageants that included cute little girls, beautiful young women and ugly drivers.
Prior to the finals of the $25,000 Ms. Monticello Raceway Beauty Pageant, 20 young area girls competed for a top prize of $1,000 in the Little Miss Monticello Raceway Pageant.
And a dozen of the raceway’s drivers vied for the coveted title of Ugly Driver.
In the main event, Arielle Riposta of Sussex, NJ captured the title of Ms. Monticello Raceway 2000. Jodi Pruttis, 29, of Newburgh captured the first runner-up trophy and $2,500 and Maria Golodner of New York City was chosen as the second runner-up. Golodner, 27, won a trophy and $1,000.
Riposta and Pruttis were the last two contenders for the crown, so, as sponsor/emcee Larry Roman had promised during the July 16 preliminary round, the winner was chosen based upon audience reaction. While Pruttis received a spirited round of applause and cheers, Riposta’s crowd response was decidedly louder.
Riposta also finished just ahead of Pruttis on the judges’ scorecards. The five judges — Sullivan County Democrat reporter John Emerson, Newburgh Housing Commissioner John Giudice, raceway driver Alan Hoffman, 1999 Ms. Monticello Raceway Martina Jacova and Sportseye racing forum assistant editor Ken Walters — gave Riposta a final score of 88, compared to an 84 for Pruttis and Golodner’s 83.
“This is a huge surprise,” said a smiling Riposta. “All of these women did a wonderful job and they are all beautiful. I was not expecting to win, this is a wonderful surprise.”
Riposta, 22, is a part-time student at Sussex County Community College and works as a reporter and fill-in anchor at WMBC-TV 63 in Newton, NJ.
She is also no stranger to beauty pageants. Riposta said she has competed in pageants since the age of seven and has participated in competitions for the Miss America and Miss USA organizations. In fact, last month, Riposta captured fourth runner-up honors at the Miss New Jersey America Pageant and won the swimsuit competition.
As for her monetary prize, Riposta said she will deposit it in the bank and “probably use it for my education.”
And she is excited to be representing Monticello Raceway.
“I’m very thrilled, I want to welcome everyone to the raceway,” Riposta commented. “I want to make the people aware of everything we have to offer here at Monticello Raceway.”
In promoting the raceway, Riposta will help present trophies and flowers to winning drivers and their horses as well as have her photo appear in advertisements and brochures.
Jacova, who returned to her native Slovakia over the winter and did some modeling, said she enjoyed her time as Ms. Monticello Raceway.
“It was fun,” she said. “I’m happy that I had the chance to do it.”
Two Sullivan County women —Andrea Grastataro of Smallwood and Kassandra DeMondo of White Lake — were among the nine finalists who did not capture one of the three top spots.
The Little Miss
The majority of entrants in the Little Miss Monticello Raceway Pageant were from Sullivan County, however. The winner was five-year-old Autumn Cuthbert of Monroe. Eight-year-old Courtney Neal of Mountaindale was chosen as the first runner-up and four-year-old Courtney Hannold of Loch Sheldrake earned second runner-up honors.
“This is the first time she has ever done something like this,” said Autumn’s mother Jen Cuthbert, who competed in the preliminary round of the Ms. Monticello Raceway Pageant. “I just figured it would be something fun for her to do. She did great.”
Sullivan County girls who competed in the pageant included: Mariah Brickhouse, Claudia Brown, Millie Cohen, Laura Doherty, Failien Dungy, Taylor Gianquinto, Lauren Katz, Sharon Major, Christina Rossi, Johanna Santiago, Angela Stephenson and Taylor Welch.
The Ugly Driver
Alan Hoffman, with a mohawk haircut that appeared to have been recently dyed blue, won the afternoon’s Ugly Driver contest. He captured the honor and the $1,000 prize over fellow drivers Tom Colucci, Mike Cruise, Mike Doherty, Peter Lutman, Jr., P. J. Lutman III, Dave Marshall, Jimmy Morrill, Scott Scofield, Jimmy Shields, Ed Smith and Chris Tully.
Hoffman may have unknowingly predicted his victory while chatting with Roman, who asked Hoffman and every other contestant why they had entered the Ugly Driver contest or why they thought they could win.
“My nickname is ‘Ugly,’” Hoffman said with a grin.

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