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!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Evening with Miss Nebraska

This evening, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Siarra and Selena, the two girls who won the "Evening with Miss Nebraska" raffle that has been going on the past couple of weeks. Many thanks to Special Touch and The Emporium, both of Scottsbluff, for donating their services to make this night special. We got their hair done in beautiful up-do's, had a fancy dinner, and took lots of pictures. I also gave them my ANAD "Accept Yourself...Accept Others" bracelets to match the one I always wear and they even got to try on some of my crowns! We had so much fun and I found out that Siarra wants to start competing in pageants when she is old enough and hopes to one day become Miss Nebraska, and Selena has been competing in Cinco De Mayo pageants for several years, and plans on continuing. Both of these girls are wonderful, and will go far with whatever they do!

Nebraska's Outstanding Teen send-off

On the 15th, two of my sisters and I took a road-trip to Omaha and attended Nebraska's Outstanding Teen, Staci Craighead's send-off party for Miss America's Outstanding Teen! We had a lot of fun and I know she will do an outstanding job at the pageant next week; I can't wait to see it. We stayed in Omaha/Lincoln for the next couple of days, and I had the opportunity to go shopping, do some talent work with Vicki Train-Harris, have a mock interview, and start looking for Miss America wardrobe. As the competition nears, I'm getting more and more excited for this experience of a lifetime!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Scottsbluff County Fair and...attacked by a bull?!

Tuesday was the start of this exciting week, as I took part in "National Night Out" in Scottsbluff. It was a little rainy at first, but there was still a great turnout and I got to meet a lot of excited kids!

Wednesday was the Rubber Check race at the fairgrounds. The Fair Queens and I had a great time, as we were introduced in the arena and then got to watch the race.

On Thursday, the Mud Bog was held at the fairgrounds, and I got to be introduced in a huge monster truck. The Fair Queens and I also got to hold out the money for the "Dash for Cash"- the guys got to run through the mud bog to reach the money on the other end. There was a lot of flying mud that night!

On Friday, I helped out at the United Way booth selling ducks for their annual Rubber Duck Dash. Sales are going great for this fun event, and they're giving away a really cool 2010 Camaro! As one of the largest fundraisers we hold, this race does a lot for United Way and is one of the most fun parts of serving on the Special Events Committee.

Later that evening, the Fair Queens and I went to the Bull Riding to be introduced and watch the competition. We walked out into the arena and began being introduced. Our Miss Scottsbluff County, Jessica Littlejohn, was standing to my right, and I was going to be the last to be introduced. The picture below was taken at this time. Then, as she stepped forward and began waving, we suddenly heard screaming, and before I even had time to look around, I saw her flying through the air in front on me, being thrown by the head of a huge bull. I watched until she finally landed on the ground, unconscious, before I realized what was going on - a bull had kicked one of the chutes open and had charged her before anyone could stop it. Somehow, as I don't remember how, I got out the gate behind me as the bull fighters and EMTs rushed in to help her. I felt my crown get ripped off my head as we pushed past eachother, but there was no way I was going to turn around to get it! Someone picked it up and got it back to me as we watched her get moved onto a stretcher and rushed to the ER. The girls and I went to the hospital to see her, and found she had a concussion, but no broken bones or other complications. She spent the night at Regional West Medical Center, and was released Saturday afternoon. We are all so very lucky she was not seriously hurt, and the rest of us were completely unharmed. It could have been much, much worse. We later found out that the bull that had thrown her was the only one there without horns. God was certainly protecting us that night!

Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to ride in the Fair Parade in Mitchell. It was a nice hot day, and a lot of fun! That afternoon I helped out at the United Way booth again, and then attended the annual Weiner Dog Races. It was so much fun and I handed out prizes and took pictures with the winning dogs.

The Trailer Choir concert finished off fair week with lots of energy and excitement! We got to meet the band and were introduced on stage, and we even came up and danced with them for one of their songs! Jessica was back with us that evening too, so we were all relieved and happy to be together again. The whole week was so much fun and definitely reminded everyone to be thankful for everything and never take a thing for granted.

With Much Gratitude,

Sunday, August 1, 2010

First local of the year!

Congratulations to the new Scottsbluff County Fair titleholders! Jessica Littlejohn was crowned Miss Scottsbluff County 2010 and will be competing at Miss Nebraska 2011, and Sara Richter was crowned Teen Scottsbluff County 2010 and will be competing at Nebraska's Outstanding Teen 2011! First runner-up in Miss was Kaylee Snyder, with Holly Huston being named second runner-up, while first runner-up in Teen went to Allie Boggs and second runner-up went to Kate Duncan. All of the girls did a fantastic job and our new titleholders will be terrific!