I had no idea what I was going into when I showed up for Ms Wheelchair Kansas. I only knew one girl, Amanda (Ms Wheelchair Kansas 2009) prior to signing up and had to talked to Carrie Greenwood online. I was nervous, but it was apparent as soon as I got to the hotel and was greeted by Angel, Carrie, and Mandy that it was going to be a good weekend.
(All photos by Stacy Greenwood!)
I also met one of the other contestants while I was in the lobby, Jessica Soderland.
That first night, we had a little orientation session for everyone to come together and get to know everyone else. I was the newest member of the group. We did a few exercises that dealt with things we like and don’t like and some that got us thinking about how we are perceived by others. There were a lot of laughs, and I left feeling like I had again found a “group” that I fit in really well. On Saturday, the judging began. Between judging sessions, we had different people come to speak to us about things like social media presence, interviewing, and advocacy. It was a lot of information in one day all held together with frazzled nerves, but it was a good time too. I learned so much and felt very empowered and motivated.
The judging sessions were not near as nerve wracking as I had imagined. The judges were actually very relaxed and seemed to have more of a conversation than a typical hard-edge question and answer. I left the first interview feeling both silly, because talking about my daughter made me cry, and confident. Then we Zumba-d with Joanne Fluke, Miss Wheelchair Kansas 2005.
After a little break, we traveled to the Ronald McDonald House in Topeka, and we made pizza for dinner. It was so fun, singing along to Jenny’s iPod, and hearing about how much Delaney, our Little Miss Wheelchair Kansas 2015, LOVES One Direction. We had a ton of leftovers, and I hope that the visitors at the RMH enjoyed them later!
The pageant made me very nervous. Normally, I do not have to talk in front of big groups of people, especially people I don’t know. I will admit to shaking a little bit.
After they had crowned our adorable Little Miss, Delaney, came time for our platform speeches and questions. (You’ll hear plenty more about her on this blog this year also!)
Keara and Jessica had awesome speeches, and I was intimidated as the last one to deliver mine. I somehow made it through my platform and 2 judges on-stage questions, even though I had to later ask my husband what they had asked because I couldn’t remember!
When they called my name as this year’s titleholder, I couldn’t believe it. I really did not think that I would win given that Keara and Jessica had such strong speeches. Those two ladies deserve a huge round of applause.
I am still excited for the rest of the year. I want to make a difference. I want to change people’s minds. I want to go out and let them know that we are here and strong and living like everyone else!
It’s going to be a great year!