From Dallas to DC! Week 44!

I am writing this blog at 7:00 a.m. in the airport.  Hang on… this has been a week of adventures! 

Sunday, I traveled to Dallas to stay with Amy, my best friend from college and fellow chemistry major.  I was so thankful for Amy’s great navigational skills through the horrific traffic in Dallas!  Monday afternoon, we visited with Shannon Boy Skokos, Miss Arkansas 1992, and Donna Axum Whitworth, who was Miss Arkansas1963 and Miss America 1964.  I still get butterflies when I meet with former Miss Arkansas titleholders so I was especially excited about the meeting! 

Over the past two months, I have been working on a very special video project!  I have met with as many former Miss Arkansas titleholders as possible and have collected 18 interviews on video.  I announced the project at the Miss Arkansas Contestant Meeting.  Every week, I will release a video on YouTube.  The purpose of the project is to pass along stories, advice, and encouragement to the next generation of Miss Arkansas contestants.  Each video features a question and the responses from several formers.   Stay tuned as I upload the first video to YouTube, where you can watch former titleholders reply to the question, “What would you like to say to Miss Arkansas 2012?” 

Back to Monday… after I interviewed Shannon and Donna for the videos, it was game time!  Shannon and Ted Skokos are co-owners of the Texas Rangers baseball team.  Shannon offered to take me to the game and graciously invited Amy to accompany us.  Amy is an avid Ranger fan , and her fiancé actually proposed to her, right there in the stadium, during the World Series last year!  I knew that I wanted to experience the Rangers game with Amy!  Shannon said we would have seats behind the players, but we had NO idea that we would have front row tickets behind home plate! 

We arrived early so Ted offered to give us a tour of the stadium.  He showed us the media room, workout room, and private batting cages.  Then… we saw Josh Hamilton.  You should have seen us squirm!  Ted suggested taking a seat in the batting cages so we waited until Josh Hamilton came.  He greeted us and said that he would shake our hands but his batting gloves were dirty.  Instead he gave us knuckles!  Then, Michael Young came in and spoke to us before getting in some batting practice.   Amy was seriously star-struck!  When we thought it couldn’t get any better, Nolan Ryan walked into the owner’s bunker as we were having dinner.  He was there with his wife, Ruth, and son, all of whom were very nice!  Amy and I were stoked about the picture and two autographed baseballs from Nolan Ryan! 

Around the 6th inning, a camera showed up on the front row.  They announced over the loud speaker that Miss Arkansas was in the crowd rooting on the Rangers!  I was so overwhelmed that I am pretty sure I blushed on-screen!  Several Ouachita students happened to be at the game and tweeted about it.  It was a really cool moment!  Even though the Rangers lost the game, Amy and I considered it to be an exhilarating baseball experience! 

Tuesday, I drove back to Arkansas to film a commercial for the Royal We in Conway.  The Royal We has been a significant sponsor of the Miss Arkansas Organization, and I was excited to be in their commercial!  You will definitely see it at the Miss Arkansas Pageant and maybe elsewhere! 

On Wednesday morning, I joined the Arkansas Furniture Association for their annual golf tournament at the Maumelle Country Club.  Miss Arkansas has attended this event for many years, and they definitely knew how to host Miss Arkansas with class!  It was a fun event! 

That afternoon, I repacked my bags and headed to the airport!  After the plane was delayed for an hour, Mom and I finally made it to Washington D.C. and crashed in the hotel room!  The last time I attended a conference there, we were snowed in so I never toured the city.  Due to the media, I have to admit my perception of Washington D.C. was that it has high unemployment and an even higher crime rate.  However, I found the city to be very pleasant, and the weather was perfect! 

Thursday, we were tourists!  I loved visiting the Smithsonian, including the Air and Space Museum and the American History Museum.  Of all the exhibits, the first lady exhibit was my favorite!  Every first lady’s inauguration dress was on display, along with the White House china.  Call me a girl, but it was fascinating!  We also visited the monuments and memorials but were overwhelmed by the crowds.  There were so many schools on field trips that we literally could not stand in the Lincoln Memorial without feeling claustrophobic.  However, I was in awe of the Lincoln Memorial, which is grand and symbolic of Lincoln’s influential leadership! 

Also on Thursday, I visited with Regina Hopper, Miss Arkansas 1983 and CEO of America's Natural Gas Alliance.  I admire Regina greatly and appreciate the advice she gave me about transitioning from Miss Arkansas to the real world! 

Early Friday morning, we met John Rex Spivey from Rogers, Arkansas.  John Rex is the president of the 2013 U. S. Naval Academy Class, and he arranged for our tour of the White House and Capitol through Senator John Boozman’s office.  It was the senate office that helped coordinate my trip to Washington D.C. to attend the Naval Academy Ring Dance with John Rex.  The Ring Dance is viewed as the big social event, perhaps second only to a presidential inaugural ball, by Naval Academy midshipmen.  I considered it such an honor to attend! 

John Rex, Me, Katie, and Jordan 

Senator Boozman's desk!  

The White House tour was pretty disappointing.  Because of security, we didn’t see any of the living quarters or the rose garden.  However, I really enjoyed the Capitol tour!  What an impressive building with rich, rich history!  The senator’s office was very helpful, and I enjoyed seeing a fellow Ouachitonian, Michael Paulk, on staff!

After lunch, Mom and I traveled the short distance to Annapolis, Maryland.  We toured the Naval Academy and were very impressed with the impeccable campus!  That night, we had dinner at a restaurant popular with the locals for its fresh crab.  I was anxious about cracking and eating the crab but gave it a try.  I ended up choosing the crab cakes.  A little fried food doesn’t hurt every once in a while!? 

As president of his class, John Rex’s primary responsibility was hosting their mentor class of 1963.  Saturday, we attended a luncheon with over 100 visiting alumni, and I enjoyed meeting them all.  When the speaker announced John Rex and his date, he mentioned that I am the reigning Miss Arkansas.  As the audience applauded, one gentleman yelled, “The Navy wins again!”  Some alumni class members told me that Miss Alabama attended the Ring Dance in 1963.   I felt very honored to follow in the tradition!

Saturday evening is the night that all midshipmen look forward to… the Ring Dance!  After their third year at the academy, they are given a Naval Academy ring.  It is unlucky to wear the ring without dipping it into water from all seven seas at the Ring Dance Ceremony.  The Class of 1963 also attended the dance and posed for pictures at the ceremony, as they did 50 years ago!  It was a very special event!  Those Navy guys and girls know how to throw a party! 

Saturday night, I literally slept for three hours before heading to the airport at 5:00 a.m.  We had to rush back to Arkansas for the 2012 Miss Arkansas contestant meeting!  I will definitely catch you up next week on the contestant meeting and everything to expect for this year’s pageant.  We have a phenomenal class of contestants, and I know the 75th anniversary pageant will be incredible! 


Sweety Darlin said...
May 22, 2012 at 11:01 AM

What a week gorgeous! I am so excited about this year! PLUS PTAL is going to compete in the teen circuit for a year before hitting the miss circut! I am really nervous! I can't go backstage, I don't know how to watch a pageant from the cheap seats!

Anonymous said...
May 22, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Who is that gorgeous blonde with the other sailor!? Get her in pageants! She would win hands down!!!

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