"Remember me? I saw you at..." Week 20

This may be week 20 of my reign, but I think of it as week 1 of the Christmas season! I am so blessed to be a part of many Christmas events, making this holiday one to remember! I am definitely in the spirit, and it is only December 4!

On Monday, Ouachita Baptist University held a Miss Arkansas reception! It was so nice to see President Horne, Mrs. Becky, and lots of friends! Thank you to Kirt Thomas, my co-director of Miss Ouachita Baptist University, for the very kind, encouraging words! The Ouachita Sounds, an elite vocal group, performed, and Dr. Horne gave me a beautiful framed print!

When it was my turn to speak, I shared a story about having dinner with former President Dr. Elrod and his wife, Betty, at a donor’s banquet on campus during my senior year. Mrs. Betty recognized me from pictures in the newspaper and started to ask questions about the Miss Arkansas Pageant. I was not yet crowned Miss OBU, but I told them I would consider it a great honor to represent Ouachita. Dr. Elrod then gave me a full history lesson on all 9 (I am the 10th) Miss Arkansas titleholders who have graduated from Ouachita! I was so impressed with his knowledge and interest in Miss Arkansas. He was particularly fond of Beth Anne Rankin, our red-headed, sweet-spirited Miss Arkansas 1994!
If anyone has made a difference in my life, it has been Mrs. Sarah Teed! Thank you!

Kirt Thomas, me, and President Rex Horne

Tuesday, I returned to Monticello for the annual Christmas parade. After the parade, we gathered at the museum for hot cider, Santa Claus pictures, and caroling! I was especially excited to hear the Drew Central Choir since my best friend, Leslyn, is the new choir teacher. They did an excellent job!! Another highlight occurred when I was helping Santa hand out candy canes. Most children were enthralled with Santa, but one sweet little girl squealed from the line “Oh… there is Miss Arkansas!” She made me feel so special! What an honor to be noticed as I stood beside Santa!

Mrs. Helen was my driver in Monticello.
Leslyn! My college roomie!

Wednesday and Thursday consisted of wardrobe decisions, workouts, and mock interviews in preparation for Miss America! Last week, I was quite overwhelmed! Now, I have more of my wardrobe together and am encouraged after my mock interviews! I hope you can all make it to my wardrobe showing on Sunday, December 18, at the Hot Springs Country Club from 3:00-5:00. We ask that you make reservations before December 12 by sending an email to info@missarkansas.org. Tickets are $10.

Friday, I spoke at Lonoke Middle School. They welcomed me with great cheers and applause! It was my last school appearance before Christmas break. I am going to miss speaking in schools for a few weeks, something I believe is an incredible opportunity to share my important message of “Second Chances through Mentoring!” I then headed home for a dance lesson and met up with my parents. We then traveled to Arkadelphia to attend the Festival of Christmas, a wonderful Christmas production with special guests and Ouachita alumni, Point of Grace.

Lonoke Middle School

Saturday was a great day! That morning, I read How Full is Your Bucket? at the Chenal Elementary Book Fair. Those kiddos were so cute! I encouraged them to read and signed lots of autographs.

How full is your bucket?

That afternoon, I rode in the Little Rock parade with the nicest driver, Mr. Billy! It was a huge parade that lasted several hours. The end of the parade consisted of Governor Mike Beebe making a presentation and concluded with fireworks and lighting of the Capitol building! I especially liked the parade because of the many kids who yelled, “Remember me? I met you at…” I even saw one boy whom I met at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital! He looked so healthy and handsome! I am starting to experience the blessings from the first months as Miss Arkansas. How awesome to impact someone’s life and be remembered the next time they see me! What inspiration to continue working hard and making the most of every opportunity!

Mr. Billy! One of my favorite drivers!

Saturday night, my boyfriend escorted me to the Starlight Gala in Bryant. The dinner, dance, and silent auction benefited the Boys and Girls Club of Bryant. They asked me to wear a $3,000 diamond necklace from the silent auction. It was beautiful and accessorized my cute little black dress perfectly! We had lots of fun mingling with the Bryant crowd and enjoying the night!

Sunday was a rainy, dreary day … but that didn’t stop the motorcycle parade for Toys for Tots! I arrived at Rodney’s Cycle, a motorcycle shop in Little Rock, to attend the pre-parade rally and sign autographs. I met and greeted many Arkansas dignitaries, including Governor Mike Beebe. Also, I petted a snake! There were three pythons in the crowd! When it was time to ride, I changed into a hat and leather jacket. I had a lot of fun riding in the parade with Scott Wallace! Fortunately, he is a 6’5” man so he blocked the wind and rain quite well! We rode 7 miles to Toy Hill to deliver several presents. Toys for Tots is a program sponsored by the Marines to deliver presents to children in Arkansas. I was so impressed with this program and the celebration on Toy Hill. I even got an interview with Bob Robbins, radio announcer for KSSN country station. After getting some hot chocolate, we loaded up on the bikes to return to my car at Rodney’s Cycle. However, we didn’t take the parade route on the way home. Instead, we went 65 mph on the interstate in the rain! Since today was my first day on a motorcycle, it was quite terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time!! But we survived! I felt like a legit motorcycle chick.

Governor Mike Beebe!
Thank you, Marines!!

Scott and I were posing after surviving the bad weather! haha, so much fun!!

To give a quick update on the Miss America agenda… we received our schedule for the 10 days in Las Vegas! Closer to January, I will share information about the events that are open to the public. We were told that one contestant will be voted into the top 15 by the public. Voting for this contestant will begin on December 12. Expect the announcement of this year’s judges to be made this week, along with the announcement of a major new sponsor! Ah… so much to look forward to!

To all of my faithful readers... best of luck as you begin (or finish?) decorating and shopping for Christmas!! "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."


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