2012 Miss Arkansas Contestant Meeting!

On Sunday morning, Mom and I woke up in Annapolis, Maryland, to catch a 7:00 a.m. flight in Baltimore.  After we switched flights in Charlotte, we landed in Little Rock around 10:30 a.m.  Dad picked us up at the airport, and I retouched my make-up and put on the crown in the car.  We were so tired but were running on adrenaline for the most important meeting… the 2012 Miss Arkansas Contestant Meeting!  

Jessie Bennett, Executive Director of the Miss Arkansas Pageant Organization, opened the meeting at the Pleasant Valley Country Club with a quick greeting and introduction of the board and foundation members.  The board members are responsible for the direction of the pageant.  The Miss Arkansas Scholarship Foundation raises scholarship money for the contestants and holds the 501(c)3 status. 

Then, I spoke to the girls about the job of Miss Arkansas.  I mentioned a question that I was asked in my Miss Arkansas interview, “What is the job of Miss Arkansas?”  Because of my well thought-out and enthusiastic answer, the judges considered me a front-runner for the crown.  Later, I was awarded the overall interview award before winning the Miss Arkansas crown!  Similarly, I was asked, “What is the job of Miss America?” in my Miss America interview.  I honestly believe that is where I fumbled the ball.  I didn’t know much about the job of Miss America, and the judges overlooked me. 

I handed the contestants a job description that will also be given to the judges at Miss Arkansas this year.  To paraphrase, Miss Arkansas is a full-time position to promote the Miss Arkansas Organization, Children’s Miracle Network, and the titleholder’s personal platform.  The vast majority of her appearances will be public speaking appearances to a variety of audiences including children, teenagers, adults, and churches.  Miss Arkansas will perform her talent across the state, including performing the National Anthem if she is a vocalist or instrumentalist.  Miss Arkansas is expected to work with, promote, and improve sponsorships.  Character, passion, and responsibility will help Miss Arkansas make an impact throughout the year. 

The job of Miss Arkansas is not exactly an easy one.  She must live up to many expectations, while constantly making good first impressions and receiving judgment.  However, it is the most rewarding job with a huge opportunity to serve the state.  If honored to be named Miss Arkansas, she should strive to always remain humble and gracious!  That advice will help her through the hard times and the long days! 

I also announced my latest project to pass on advice and encouragement from former Miss Arkansas titleholders!  Click here to see a video compilation of 18 interviews and lots of good advice for the next Miss Arkansas!!

As I finished, guess what the Miss Arkansas board members gave me?!  Miss Arkansas is given a tea set every year and I was ecstatic to receive mine!

My mom spoke next and shared advice for the mother of the next Miss Arkansas.  She explained how to prepare for the first few weeks of being Miss Arkansas and emphasized the importance of networking.  She also said, “As with anything in life, the more you put into the year as Miss Arkansas, the more you will get out of it!” 

Dad finished with a few jokes and some powerful words.  He said the quality that makes a good Miss Arkansas is a servant’s heart, giving more of herself while expecting little in return! 

We then moved onto the lottery!  This year, we have 47 girls competing for the crown.  The only year that had more contestants was 2001, when Jessie Ward Bennett won among 48 contestants.  The following pictures show the current contestants competing in each group. 

Group A (talent, swimsuit, evening gown)
Group B (evening gown, talent, swimsuit)
Group C (swimsuit, evening gown, talent)

Jessie announced several changes for the upcoming pageant.  First, the Miss Arkansas Organization was granted extra scholarship money for the 75th anniversary of the pageant.  Along with support from an anonymous donor, we are excited to announce that each contestant will receive a minimum $250 in scholarship money!  Wow!!

Additionally, we have several big new sponsors this year!  Citgo has stepped on board with a $20,000 sponsorship through their “Fueling Good” program that supports local non-profits.  Miss Arkansas 2012 will be given $10,000 in gas cards for the upcoming year!  This is a huge blessing, considering I currently pay for gas out of my paycheck!  Also, Citgo will be giving $100 gas cards to all local directors and local titleholders.  How incredible is that?!  We definitely need to let Citgo know how much we appreciate them!

Another new sponsor is Bale Chevrolet in Little Rock!  Sharon Evans Bale is a former Miss Arkansas and one of the most inspirational women!  We are thankful that she has agreed to support the Miss Arkansas Organization by providing Miss Arkansas 2012 a cute little Kia! 

One of the new sponsorships that I am personally excited about is Sissy’s Log Cabin!  They have partnered with the Royal We and Clark’s Bridal to give Miss Arkansas a fine coronation ring.  It is a beautiful aquamarine stone with a crown setting of diamond chips.   I can’t wait to receive this gift at the end of my year!  Thank you to all these sponsors!!!

Finally, the contestants received their Tony Bowls onstage question dresses sponsored by the Royal We and Clark’s Bridal!  The girls had several choices and voted for this charcoal jersey dress, which will be great for dancing!  I approve!

Renee Fronabarger, wardrobe chairman

Overall, I consider the contestant meeting to be a huge success!  I am excited to hand over the job position to the next Miss Arkansas because I believe the Miss Arkansas Organization is headed in the right direction!  The board and foundation have worked hard to improve the organization, and their efforts are paying off!  Jessie Ward Bennett, Executive Director for two years now, is a phenomenal boss!  Also, we have the most organized and competent office manager, Mrs. Vicki Rima.  The next Miss Arkansas is stepping into the organization at its finest! 

Monday, the contestants returned to Pleasant Valley Country Club for the Miss Arkansas Foundation Golf Tournament.  We had 22 teams and raised close to $20,000 in scholarship funds!  The contestants helped the teams check in, directed them to lunch, and helped them get ready for the tournament.  It was a well-organized, enjoyable event!

While the golf tournament was going on, the contestants rotated from the country club to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.  The contestants took a tour of the facility to see where all of our Children’s Miracle Network funds go.  Miss America is the national ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network, and each state contestant is required to raise $250 for CMN.  The girls loved the tour and made posters for the patients!

When I arrived at the hospital, I visited the playroom for the patients.  I have visited the playroom multiple times this year but have never seen as many kids as I did on Monday.  So many of the little girls got wide-eyed and star-struck when they saw me!  I especially loved the painting that one of the girls made for me!  I will forever remember the brave cancer patient who had prepared questions for me.  It was like she gave me a real interview!  So cute!

I returned to the golf tournament as the teams were finishing up.  We gathered around for the announcement of the winners and posed for a photo with the winning team!  I have to say that the best part of the weekend was getting to spend time with the contestants.  Every chance I get to know them better, the more impressed I am with the class of 2012!  It will be a GREAT pageant. 

I hope you can join us for the 75th anniversary of the Miss Arkansas Pageant at the Summit Arena in Hot Springs!  Preliminary competition will be held on Wednesday-Friday, July 11-13.  The next Miss Arkansas will be crowned on Saturday, July 14.  You are not going to want to miss this one!  


Sweety Darlin said...
May 24, 2012 at 12:14 PM

I actually teared up reading this post. I can not believe that the year is so close to being over. That you are going to give your crown to the next deserving girl and join the society of formers that is so full of amazing women.

I love you sweetheart and look forward to seeing you in July.

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