Wednesday, July 25, 2007



A Pageant Girls Life....

I have my father to blame for this thing I call the pageant craze. It all began in the 4th grade it was 1974. Dad signed me up as a contestant in the Junior Miss Black Oregon Pageant, so what did this mean? Well it meant having a gown made, it meant learning how to curtsey just so, it meant that my parents had to sit nervously in the audience and watch as their younger child took the stage for the first time to sing Summertime, I found out years later that my mentor (dad) left and went to the bathroom when I got ready to sing, because he was so nervous…but he had prepared me well. I entered the Junior Miss Black Oregon Pageant 2 years in a row I didn’t win either time. But the bottom line is that I had been bitten - I had the pageant bug. In those days pageants were not quite as prevalent as they are today so, I lived vicariously through the television and the Miss America Pageants. Each year Miss America fell ominously during an annual party that my parents attended at the Hickerson’s home. Lori their daughter was my pageant-watching buddy. We watched the show on TV in the Hickerson’s living room - as the parade of beauties went by we picked our favorites. It was not until my senior year at Lincoln High School that I had my next opportunity at pageant glory. First was the race for homecoming queen - it was simple; there was no parading across the stage, no gowns, no swimsuits. Students were to choose from 5 senior girls, I won homecoming queen that year. Again, I had that pageant bug and I wanted more, I wanted a crown. Oh sure I had my homecoming tiara, but I wanted the real deal, a full blown crown, like in Miss America. So I set my sights on the Miss Portland Scholarship pageant. Then I tried the Miss Oregon USA pageant. I have one fairly vivid memory of Miss Oregon USA; I was just getting ready to go out on stage in my very sexy swimsuit, I remember it well, it was a white tank suit of mesh material it had white flowers strategically located. Just as I was going to step out, the girl behind me said, “oh my gosh, you have a huge zit on your ass!” What could I do? I strolled out on stage as if I owned the world. I didn’t win Miss Portland or Miss Oregon USA, I didn’t even place, but if you have a good attitude about these things you learn to say, “I had a good time, I learned something about myself, and I did the best that I could.” Then it was on to the next competition. The Portland Rose Festival was fast approaching. I was chosen as Lincoln High School’s Rose Princess for 1982 and served proudly and with honor but alas all I got was the tiara (and at that they crowned me and then took it away for next years winner), but I did not get the crown of all crowns the one that most every Portland girl dreams of wearing, the crown that dubs her the “Queen of Rosaria”. It is a special crown with a lot of history, it’s made of gold and rubies, and it has been apart of the Rose Festival for 100 years; it is kept under a lock and key. In 1982 the coveted title went to Leslie Carlson of Cleveland High School. At that point I figured my pageant years were over that is at least until I got married and could compete in the Mrs. America pageant. You see the pageant age for Miss America and Miss USA is from about 17 to 24. With no man in sight to marry and college on the horizon, my dreams of winning a pageant crown were put on the back burner. In 1986 I graduated from the University of Oregon and went on to start my life as an Officer in the United States Army. I figured, as most would that pageantry and the Army were not a good mix, but boy was I wrong; I arrived at my first duty station in Herzogenaurach Germany, I wasn’t there 6 months when I saw the call for contestants in the Ms. Nurnberg beauty pageant. Not only does the Army and pageantry mix, this pageant was for Army women and the wives of Army personnel. With a sequins gown, and a dramatic interpretation I took the title of Ms. Nurnberg. I felt a great sense of satisfaction, but this was still no Miss America and my crown once again was a very small tiara. Let’s fast forward 20 years to 2003, I was 39 years old had a nine year old son and there was still no man in my life, I had all but forgotten my dream, visions of tiaras and crowns dancing in my head. Then prince charming walked back into my life. I say back because Bob Goodwin had been my high school sweetheart, I had not seen him in at least 20 years, our coming together is another story in itself, which I will save for another time. But Bob and I married and immediately my dream was back, oh sure by now I was forty years old and my body sure wasn’t what it used to be, but I took the plunge anyway, I was living in Birmingham, Alabama I decided to try out for the Mrs. Alabama United States pageant, So I went for Mrs. Alabama United States, but didn’t even make the top 10. Again I told myself I had done my best, besides I really wasn’t in to it, I mean I’m not from Alabama, I’m an Oregonian. I returned to Oregon last year, and before I had even stepped foot in the state I had paid my fees to the Mrs. Oregon America pageant and claimed the title of Mrs. Eugene America 2007. On October 6th 2006, I came closer to my pageant happiness than I ever had in my life, I was 1st runner-up to Mrs. Portland Kimberly Takla who oh by the way won Miss Oregon USA when I was a contestant back in 1986. Once again I hold the title of Mrs. Eugene and will vie for the title of Mrs. Oregon 2008. If I haven’t made myself clear as to why winning a crown is so important to me please allow me to quickly elaborate; winning a crown was always very important to me, but now its for very different reasons, yes I still love the limelight but being in a pageant for me is like being and athlete, we train and we train some more to do our best, look our best, be the best. It’s about family, it’s about community and community service, I have traveled all over the world, I have seen many beautiful places but in the end the place that I love the place that I want to be an ambassador for and show off to the world is the great state of Oregon, it is what I know, it is what I love and it is what I want to win a crown for.

2 comments:

LB said...

C'mon!! How can you tease us with the Junior Miss Black Oregon Pageant story and not put up a picture of mini-diva Joelle? I know you have one somewhere.

Sheri's Links said...

Hi Lisa..

I also was the 2nd runner up in the Junior Miss Black Oregon Pageant 2 times, you must have been in the pageant the year I wasn't (smile). My cousin Brenda Knapper was the organizer/director.