Tally Bevis remains deeply involved in Robertson County community she grew up in.
While Music City is churning out big names left and right, nearby Robertson County is adding the name Tally Bevis to the list. This Springfield, TN, native was crowned Miss Tennessee in July of 2021. Proud of her hometown, Bevis continues to stay involved in her community, working on everything from economic development to voter registration initiatives.
“I’m the first Miss Tennessee in all of Miss America’s history to be from Robertson County,” Bevis says. “I grew up in the historic district of Springfield … it was a very small town with a ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ vibe.”
While thinking back on her childhood in Springfield (which is complete with a courthouse on the town square where her mother works as a prominent lawyer), she admits that she wasn’t exactly the poster child for pageantry as a kid.
“I grew up as an athlete and was very much a tomboy. I don’t think I wore a dress – on my own accord – until I was 15 or 16,” she says, noting that she was a competitive dancer. “I always knew about pageants but had never seen myself doing something like that.”
Education, Careers & Opportunity
Robertson County Students: Ready to Excel
Area schools and businesses work together to prepare students for the workforce.
How Did She Become Miss Tennessee?
A chance encounter at a nail salon with the local director for Miss Tennessee when she was 18, however, set her pageantry career in motion.
Bitsy Weaver (the local director at that time) encouraged Bevis to “get over what I thought (Miss America) meant and compete at the local level,” she says. “What I didn’t realize is that the Miss America organization is the top scholarship provider for women in the U.S.”
Bevis notes that while many people, including herself, have had misconceptions about Miss America, the skills “totally outweigh any misconception.” The Miss America organization has also made several significant changes over recent years to improve the integrity of the competition and better benefit its candidates, which Bevis fully supports.
“Instead of ‘pageant,’ it’s now ‘scholarship competition,’” she says. “It’s a small, nuanced change, and we no longer compete in the swimsuit competition. We don’t have to flaunt in a bikini and heels to show what we’re capable of. We’ve gone from swimsuits and fitness to making it about who you are and what you stand for. You’re not being judged for your appearance anymore.”
Bevis went on to serve three local titleholder positions, with Miss Tennessee being the most recent in 2021. The candidate, who also went on to graduate from Belmont University with a degree in business administration, ended up earning approximately $36,000 in scholarships as a result of her competing. She is now officially debt-free from Belmont and headed toward a master’s degree.
“I want to encourage the next generation of natives to stay (in Robertson County) to work, play and shop.”
Working Hard to Improve Robertson County
In the meantime, as she holds the title of Miss Tennessee, Bevis is hard at work serving the county she knows and loves. She’s traveled the state, working with high school seniors and student governments to promote voter registration as part of her social impact initiative, Vote With a Vision.
Additionally, one of her top priorities is expanding Robertson County’s recognition, for which her recent title has certainly helped quite a bit.
“I’ve established a partnership with Robertson County’s Economic Development Board and am working really hard to encourage careers to come to our community,” she says. “I’ve come on as a spokesperson to improve workforce development and tourism.”
Creating a Legacy in Robertson County
Bevis also hopes her work and legacy will continue on with each Miss Tennessee who comes after her as well as each future Miss Robertson County — a new competition Bevis helped create to promote tourism in the area.
“The support I have received from Robertson County and my hometown of Springfield has been overwhelming. Our community rallies around things that are important to us, and they’ve rallied around me so hard,” she says. “It’s surreal to be the first (Miss Tennessee from the county), but I don’t want to be the last. We have an overwhelming number of women in leadership here, and I think it speaks volumes that we’re one of the most welcoming and artistic communities in Tennessee.”
Get to Know Robertson County
Want to learn more about living and working in Robertson County? Check out the latest edition of Livability’s Experience Robertson County, Tennessee.