Speeches and Smiles! Week 35

This was a busy week! Monday, I headed to Hazen to speak at the Chamber of Commerce Banquet. I grew up 20 minutes from Hazen so I knew many individuals in the audience and was happy to be there. My parents and grandparents also attended the banquet to support me! I opened my speech by talking about the one and only time I entered a pageant in Hazen. My mom entered my picture in a pretty baby contest before my first birthday. I was the only baby who did not receive an award. Thankfully, my pageant career didn’t end in Hazen!
Posing with those who received outstanding awards from the Chamber!

Tuesday, I attended a luncheon fundraiser for single-parent mothers attending National Park Community College in Hot Springs. I shared stories of the pregnant teenagers I worked with at the Promise House and their struggles as single parents. However, my story was overshadowed by the honest testimonies of those who were previous scholarship recipients at NPCC.  According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in November 2009, there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.8 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S. today). I am so thankful for the scholarships offered to these single- parent mothers because education is the most powerful tool in providing for a brighter future!

I traveled to Ashdown on Wednesday for my first visit to that southwest city in Arkansas. I spoke to the students of Margaret Daniel Primary School and had so much fun! They showed my introduction youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKpJYellDUI) that describes my job as Miss Arkansas. The kids ooo’ed at every picture, except for the picture of me riding on a yellow corvette convertible. For that picture, the boys cheered! I got so tickled! Also, the kids told me so many funny things! “You are tall for a 22-year old!” They also asked me about having girlfriends/boyfriends in second grade. They couldn’t believe it that I had my first boyfriend in 10th grade!

Dad joined me on Thursday for another father/daughter banquet at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock. We had dinner and a delicious raspberry/oreo ice cream dessert! I shared a few stories from my childhood and then introduced my favorite game, “Name that Tune!” However, for this event, we played “Princess Name that Tune” and the girls knew every song and every princess! I ended by telling the girls that they are all princesses to their daddies! We can never love or trust our daddies enough!

Friday was a good day to run errands! Thankfully, the accountants who always support the Miss Arkansas Organization offered to help me with my tax returns. I give a huge thank you to Jordan, Woosley, Crone, Keaton Ltd. for your help with those wretched tax forms! Then, I headed to another wonderful Miss Arkansas sponsor, Allen Tillery Chevrolet! They always welcome me to the dealership and give me a nice car wash! I realize that future oil changes will never be as fun as getting an oil change as Miss Arkansas! 

Friday evening, I attended a reception for the Independent Tire Dealers' Association. They invite Miss Arkansas every year, and I met several people who have photos with many Miss Arkansas titleholders! Thank you for the appetizers and pictures!

Saturday was one of my best days! During the lunch hour, I celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Hot Springs Mall by signing autographs, taking pictures, cutting the cake, and entertaining. They invited a Hot Springs dance studio to perform after me, so I had the most fun meeting the dancers and cheering for them all! Elle was one of my biggest fans! I even let her try on my crown… something little girls rarely get to do! Thank you to the Hot Springs Mall for always hosting the Miss Arkansas Autograph Party during the week of Miss Arkansas. Also, a big thank you one of my favorite sponsors, Dillard’s of Hot Springs! Dillard’s provided me with a $3,500 allowance that enabled me to gather everything I possibly needed before the Miss America pageant. Wow… I could not have done it without them!!

Hamp Wilson with Dillard's of Hot Springs!

Have you ever heard of the Hot Spring’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade?! Well it is outrageous! It is labeled “The Shortest Parade in America” because it lasts only a block. There is a limit of only 40 parade entries, but it collects over 40,000 spectators! I asked my sister to ride with me and help throw beads from my motorcycle-pulled-carriage. We had so much fun! As we were making it up the first hill, the clutch went out on the motorcycle. I had no idea what that meant, but we idled throughout the rest of the parade with a few extra pushes. Thankfully, we weren’t expected to drive faster than 5 mph! 

I always like to leave you with a bit of advice!  Here are some thoughts concerning wardrobe worries when preparing for Miss Arkansas! Without a doubt, the wardrobe seems to require more money and create more stress than expected. My advice to you is to pick out pieces that you absolutely love and use them more than once! It is absolutely acceptable to wear a gown or costume to a state competition multiple times. I wore my dance costume and swimsuit two years in a row and won while wearing those outfits for the second time. Also, I wore my black evening gown from my first year at Miss Arkansas in nine separate pageants. I am not ashamed! I encourage you to do the same!


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