Tuesday, August 31, 2010

5 days + 53 crowns = a whole lot of fun in Orlando, Florida!

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to Orlando, Florida. (I took secret pride in the fact that I would be at a major vacation spot during a time that many others were going back to school...shh!) I had the chance to stay there for five days, meet the 52 other Miss America contestants, and cheer on our fabulous Miss Nebraska Outstanding Teen Staci Craighead! Staci did an incredible job, and was a fantastic representative of our state! I couldn't be more proud of her. She is such a joy to watch, to talk to, and to be around, and I know she will continue to be an amazing titleholder for the rest of the year. I had a great time watching her compete in talent, on-stage question, fitness, and evening gown for the three preliminary nights.

The entire week was packed full of exciting events and activities for the Miss America contestants! We spent a day at Disney World, complete with VIP tour guides who got us on all the rides super-fast, pictures with Mickey and the Princesses, and interviews and filming for promotional videos. A huge highlight of the week was the Miss America Organization/Westgate Resorts Foundation fundraiser at the Seigel estate! Mr. Seigel donated $25,000 to the program, as well as hosting the event, complete with both a live and silent auction, many fine cuisine choices with booths set up throughout the backyard, a dj and dancing, and of course, a ton of photo ops!

I would have to say the best part of the entire experience was by far, the girls. Let me tell you, this year's competition at Miss America is going to be GOOD! These women are absolutely incredible- talented, smart, beautiful, fun, you name it, we've got it all in this group. It was such a blast to be around them all week, and we had some great times together! I cannot wait for Las Vegas, and I know whoever it ends up being, our Miss America 2011 will be fantastic!

After five absolutely fun-filled (and of course, humid) days, we were on the plane back to Denver! The stewardesses on our flight got wind that a couple outstanding teen contestants, as well as Miss Colorado and I, were on the plane, so they made a special announcement and introduced us. Then they presented us with beautiful crowns. Okay, they weren't all that beautiful, but certainly very creative- they were made out of little bags of peanuts, held together by stirring sticks! Of course that prompted many good luck wishes and congratulations from most of our fellow flyers, so although I was looking pretty travel-worn and in a ponytail and jeans (but also some pretty great heels!) it was a great way to end the trip. Or so I thought.

When we landed and got to the baggage claim, one of my suitcases came, but the frame was bent. We waited for the other, but it never came, and we soon hear the announcement that we were to pick it up at the baggage service office. It was completely bent and the zipper had exploded, rendering it completely useless for any further use. Well, those suitcases have served Miss Nebraska's throughout the years quite well, and I suppose it was their time to go. So we recieved new replacement suitcases for both of them, and after filing the claim, and transferring my mountain of clothes, shoes, bags, and dresses from the old to the new, we were on our way home! A nice final adventure to round out the week, and hey, we got some new suitcases in the deal!

Love, prayers, and happy back-to-school!

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