I traveled to St. Louis for the 2014 Miss Missouri and Miss Missouri Teen USA Pageant at Lindenwood University in November. I had a wonderful time seeing my boo, Mrs. Missouri United States Kristy Kelley and a few other titleholders, though it was bittersweet saying goodbye to Ellie Holtman and Brenda Smith-Lezama, my 2013 Vanbros sister queens. I know wonderful things await them as they start a new chapter in their lives! But I know it's difficult to pass on the crown. Congratulations to the 2014 titleholders, Erica Sturdefant (who did a great job helping me prepare for interview this summer at boot camp before nationals) and Samantha Bowers! I added a few pictures of the pageant below.
Then, as 2013 came to an end, I went to Wichita for the 2014 Miss Kansas and Miss Kansas Teen USA Pageant at Maize South High School the weekend before Christmas. I got to catch up with a few friends I hadn't seen in quite some time, which was wonderful, met a 2014 Mrs. Kansas United States contestant, Kristin, and was there as 2013 titleholders Staci Klinginsmith and Aly Klinzing passed on their crowns. I will miss them both, especially Aly, Miss Kansas Teen USA 2013. She was such a sweet girl who made every moment of her year as a titleholder and truly made a difference in the lives of many. I made quite a few appearances with her, and was fortunate to have her as a little sister queen. I know she will go on to do wonderful things. Aly, you are fabulous! There's a picture of us below. Congratulations to the new 2014 Kansas titleholders, Audrey Banach and Claire-Bailey Lee; welcome to the Vanbros family!
Christmas came and went, and then New Years Eve was upon us! I had such a wonderful time ringing in 2014 with my husband, Alex -- check out the picture below -- and our two best friends who just moved back to Kansas City after hiking the Appalachian Trail last year. What an amazing accomplishment! It's adventures and opportunities like that, ones that people think you're crazy to take but that end up being so rewarding and changing your priorities and perspective, that are so easy to pass over and ignore. Don't ever ignore those opportunities! Since being crowned your 2013 Mrs. Kansas United States, I've tried to live in the moment, take chances and continue to step out of my comfort zone. It's definitely changed me as a person and I'm so thankful for the opportunities I've been given and the unique people I've met.
If you're ready for the chance of a lifetime, make sure you visit www.mrskansasunitedstates.com or call (913) 381-7121 to apply and take the first step. You never know, 2014 could be your year! Feel free to email me with any questions you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter how things turn out, I promise you won't regret competing. I promise.
I can't even imagine where this year will take my husband and I, but wherever we go, we're so ready. I'm excited to see who I crown the new Mrs. Kansas United States this April, and look forward to seeing how the "power of the crown," as they say, positively affects the next titleholder as it has so positively affected me. So go out and make 2014 your best year yet! Strive to be better, go farther, do things that scare you and never compromise who you are for others while remembering the experiences of 2013 that helped shape who you are today.
I'll leave you with a quote from the current Miss USA, Erin Brady: "You will have chances you can't even imagine. If you can break away from 2013, you can start a wonderful life in the present moment."
Here's to a truly fab New Year ... cheers!
All the best,
|Kristy, Ellie, Brenda and me at the Miss Missouri USA Pageant in November.|
|Me with Mrs. Missouri United States Kristy Kelley at Miss Missouri USA.|
|At the Miss Kansas USA Pageant with 2014 Mrs. Kansas United States contestant Kristin.|
|With Miss Kansas Teen USA 2013, Aly Klinzing at Miss Kansas USA.|
|Ready to ring in 2014 with my husband and friends in Kansas City! Cheers!|