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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

6 Weeks Out

We're now weeks away from the crowning of our next Miss Arkansas! Here's a quick update on what has been happening in my preparations recently. It's been a busy few weeks. I said in my last post that I would give you the run down on our Miss Arkansas Contestant Meeting weekend, so here it is...

We'll begin with the always fantastic, Tony Bowls' Photoshoot! I don't have any photos to share from the actual shoot as I wouldn't want to give anything away, but I can tell you that Tony Bowls and all of the volunteers ensured yet again that we contestants felt like royalty. And heres why:
Once we arrive, we're whisked away to have our make-up and hair done. A gorgeous Tony Bowls' gown is then chosen for us with shoes and accessories to match. Finally, the real fun begins when we got to work with Jason McMaster's and his team of photography geniuses. All the while, you can hear the team "ooo" and "ahh" over your photos which keeps the energy going and makes you feel very special. I can't say thank you enough to these wonderful people for what a perfect time they make this out to be for us contestants. Of course, my Saturday didn't end here. I quickly gathered my things after the shoot and drove back to Jonesboro as my very dear cousin, Bret Sanders, graduated from high school. She'll be attending Ouachita Baptist University in the fall and I can't wait to see the amazing things soon to come in her life!

Back in Little Rock Sunday morning we got started early with the Miss Arkansas Contestant Meeting Luncheon and Lottery. With a pretty decent lottery draw, I am thrilled to be returning to Group B this year. My official contestant number is B27 and I have the privilege of competing in this group with both old friends and new faces that I can't wait to get to know better!

Group B

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I have the best pageant family. The Northeast Arkansas Pageant Association has been up and running for 31 years now and their record of phenomenal young women who come through the program never ceases to amaze me! Just check out the number of girls who will be present on the Miss Arkansas stage this summer who were at one time members of this family. From left: Ashley Walthall, Miss Lights of the Delta 2011; Mason Magouryk, Miss Northeast Arkansas, 2012; Me, Miss Northeast Arkansas 2011 and Miss Lights of the Delta 2012; Jenn Ulloa, Miss Northeast Arkansas 2013; our reigning Miss Arkansas, Sloane Roberts, Miss Lights of the Delta OT 2007; Maggie Benton, Miss Lights of the Delta 2013; Daley Johnston, Miss Lights of the Delta OT 2009; and Mackenzie Moore, Miss Lights of the Delta OT 2008. 

Don't worry, all of the fun didn't end after Sunday. Bright and early Monday morning I drove one contestant to Arkansas Children's Hospital (as she was in a different group than me) and then made my way over to the Miss Arkansas Golf Tournament. 

Just showing off our Children's Miracle Network Hospital shirts

We enjoyed a fun filled morning of photos and golfing before my group made our way over to Arkansas Children's Hospital for a tour after lunch. Thanks to the hard work of some wonderful people all 45 contestants were able to walk through a comprehensive tour of the hospital and we even had time to make "Happy Birthday" and "Congratulations" posters for the kids. From someone who has seen what hospital care for children is like in the Third World, let me just say that we are blessed with such a wonderful facility complete with life-saving technology, the Angel One helicopters, well-educated doctors who make the difference for so many families every single day. 

After our tour, we returned to the Pleasant Valley Country Club just in time to see Miss Arkansas, Sloane Roberts, fly over the golf course in a helicopter. She went up to release 1500 golf balls over the eighteenth hole. Each ball contained a number and a few lucky participants went home with extra price money thanks to a very creative idea by the Miss Arkansas Golf Tournament planning committee. All-in-all, it was a very exciting (even slightly exhausting) weekend. It served to make me even more excited about the upcoming competition in July!

Lastly, I just want to say a huge thank you to the Jonesboro Visual and Performing Arts Magnet school, the Assistant Principal, Mrs. Rodely, and the mother of one of my Miss Arkansas Diamond State Princesses, Liane Neshat, for allowing me to come and encourage the 5th and 6th grade classes to work hard, to be involved in serving other, and to dream big dreams! My favorite part of these school visits comes at the end when the students get a little time to ask me questions. Interestingly enough my first question was from a young 5th grader who wanted to know if he could make a living playing the violin since I was playing the flute for the Miss Arkansas Pageant. As I was driving home that day, I passed a house in my neighborhood with a young man sitting outside with his family practicing his violin. Turns out: we're neighbors! One of the best parts of wearing the crown is the people I get to meet! 

That's all for now. I'm headed to the Miss Missouri Pageant this weekend so check back soon for updates from that exciting trip!

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