I arrived in Las Vegas Saturday, July 27 and set out for the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower for registration. I received my welcome packet, turned in a few forms, met the 46 other contestants and the national director Isabella Illacqua, and was reunited with my sister queens, Mrs. Tennessee United States Amanda Uggla, Mrs. Texas United States Janet Randolph, Mrs. Missouri United States Kristy Kelley (my roommate for the week) and Mrs. United States 2012 Aquillia "Q" Vang. Before leaving, we all picked up each other's state gifts and then got ready for the evening's events. We had dinner before heading to the theatre to watch Frankie Moreno. So much fun! He was great, and we got a sneak peek of the stage we would walk across ourselves later in the week.
Sunday, July 28 we donned our official contestant t-shirts, a special gift from Q, and rehearsed pretty much all day with our fabulous choreographer Natalie Carson before heading to the observation deck...107 stories above the famous Las Vegas Strip! The view was amazing. I was about to ride the Big Shot, which catapults you from the center of the Stratosphere Tower straight up before dropping you down, but there was a storm rolling in making the winds too high. Guess I'll have to wait until next time!
On Monday, July 29, we went to the Level 8 Pool for our swimsuit photo shoot bright and early in the morning, then rehearsed most of the day before being dismissed to prepare for personal interviews, which went from 6 p.m. to nearly midnight! The judges, Dr. Jeffrey Roth, Jennifer Lier, Rebecca Prephan, Stephanie Hill and Paula Lawrence, were wonderful to talk to. A great group of people.
Then, on Tuesday, July 30 we were finally able to practice onstage! We rehearsed all day and then did a full show run-through with lights, music and host Jay Joseph before heading back to our rooms to prepare for the preliminary competition. At 7:30 p.m., the house lights were dimmed and the 47 contestants left it all on the stage as we performed our opening number, contestant introductions, swimsuit and evening gown. I was proud of my performance in my opening number dress from the lovely ladies at Sassy Chic, my amazing custom Allyce King Designs swimsuit and my Tony Bowls gown from Watercolors High Fashion, but I'd have to wait another day to see if I advanced.
Finally, Wednesday, July 31 arrived! We had a few final rehearsals in the theatre that morning and early in the afternoon, and then left to prepare for the final competition, which kicked off at 3 p.m. The 47 contestants were narrowed to a group of Top 12...and I'm proud to say I was one of those finalists! I worked so hard and was thrilled and humbled to be able to represent myself, my husband, my family and the state of Kansas as a Top 12 Finalist still vying for the national title. I competed in swimsuit and evening gown again, and then came back out onstage with everyone to hear who received the special Fitness (Mrs. Texas), Congeniality (Mrs. Vermont) and Photogenic (Mrs. Alaska) awards before they narrowed it to the Top Five and then crowned the new winner! I was disappointed I didn't place in the Top Five, but still so proud I was a Finalist! Go Kansas!
Congratulations to one of the most genuine, caring and calm women ever, Janet Randolph who is your new Mrs. United States 2013! She will be an amazing titleholder, and I'm fortunate to call the former Mrs. Texas United States a sister queen and, more importantly, a friend.
As I reflect on my journey to, and at, nationals as Mrs. Kansas United States, there are many I would like to thank. First, a very special thank you to Mrs. United States 2012, Aquillia "Q" Vang, who worked hard to make our 2013 pageant a truly unforgettable experience and who I was blessed to get to know as a fellow Vanbros titleholder since winning my state title in March 2013. Q, you are great!
I'd also like to thank my director John Vannatta for preparing me and my sister queens as much as possible prior to nationals, and for being one of the most positive forces in my life. John, I feel I can do anything with your support.
Thank you to all of my sponsors for their support of the Vanbros ladies: Allyce King Swim, Linda Loveless and Arbonne, Hairstylist Bryan Wood, Kim Forsythe, Makeup by Q, Sassy Chic, Rachel Imdieke Photography/Simply Joyful Photography, Valerie Hayes and Watercolors High Fashion.
And, finally, thank you to my family and especially my husband Alex, who has stood beside me, smiled at me and encouraged me through everything. You mean so much to me, Al; Rock Chalk!
Are you ready for the experience of a lifetime? Make sure to enter the 2014 Mrs. Kansas United States Pageant for your chance to wear the crown and represent the married women of this lovely state at nationals next year! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have, or check out www.mrskansasunitedstates.com for more.
I think that's (finally) about it - promise I'll post additional pictures as soon as I can upon returning from my much-needed vacation to Cape Cod. Have a wonderful August!
All the best,
|At our swimsuit photo shoot at Level 8 Pool Monday morning.|
|Me with Mrs. Iowa United States, Katie Spielmann!|
|All the contestants in our opening number formation on Wed., July 31.|
|Th crowning moment! Congrats, Janet! Photo courtesy of Terry Wright Photography.|
|The Top 12 Finalists at Mrs. United States 2013!|
|Me and my husband, Alex. Rock Chalk!|