Thursday, January 24, 2008

All-American Girl(s)...

When you think of the ideal "All-American Girl," most people presumably would still think of Miss America. Kind of coincidentally, Carrie Underwood has a song entitled "All-American Girl" rocketing up the Country charts at the moment - FYI, it's at #12 with a bullet as they say in the music biz. Even though the Miss America pageant is no longer held on network television, it's still a very prestigious event, and in my estimation still defines what the perfect "All-American Girl" is all about.

Growing up, I watched the pageant a lot, but rarely did the girl who I was rooting for win. It was kind of a moral victory for me if the girl I was rooting for made the top 10. So, as time went on, I watched less often. Then, a little over a year ago - actually it was December 26, 2006, I happened upon the CMT website while looking for some news about the aforementioned Underwood... Well, I saw that CMT also happened to be televising the Miss America pageant last year (for the second year in a row) and they had a section spotlighting all 52 contestants. Pretty much immediately, a beautiful young woman representing the District of Columbia kind of caught my eye. I read her bio and saw like me that she enjoyed Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban music-wise and that she also was a huge baseball fan! I then read the Q&A and was struck by her intelligence. Her beautiful photos taken pretty much all over the U.S. and even destinations like Italy showed she really loved to travel. The video was really cute too...I can't ever see her being "left out" though. :) After that, I knew I had found the girl I wanted to root for in the 2007 Miss America Pageant in Kate Michael.

So, for the first time in a very long time, I watched the Miss America pageant in anticipation. The first thirty minutes of the show would be very important as that's when they would narrow it to ten contestants. As they called the last of the 10 finalists and Kate wasn't chosen, I was a little upset actually. I was so sure she would be there! That said, there were a few contestants that I did like that made the finals - Jacquelynne Fontaine (Miss California), Kristen Eddings (Miss Washington), Amanda Kozak (Miss Georgia), and the eventual winner, Lauren Nelson (Miss Oklahoma).

Although I thought Lauren was a great choice as a winner (and she's done a GREAT job in her year) I wondered what would become of Miss DC... I was on Wikipedia one morning a week or so after the pageant and discovered that only nine of the 52 delegates had pages there and Kate wasn't one of them. So, without ever making a Wikipedia page before, I set about to make my first one. It was soon before long that my mission was accomplished. Kate Michael had her own Wikipedia page! And it wasn't long before I was in touch with Kate and became friends with her. She turned out to be just as warm, friendly and nice as I thought she would be. These days, Kate is working for the Greater Washington Sports Alliance and also is one of the hosts of Just Another Sports Show. Yes, she definitely keeps busy as her K Street Kate blog will attest to!

Since I didn't get to see the Miss America pageant in person last year, I figured that I would do the next best thing this past July and attend the 2007 Miss D.C. pageant. Two weeks earlier, I flew out to D.C. for the big 4-0... I tracked Tiger Woods at Congressional on my birthday and also happened to run into Kate's boyfriend Bill Dean on the 7th hole... that was sooooo random! I met up with Kate, Bill, and a bunch of Miss D.C. and Teen Miss D.C. hopefuls for Miss D.C. Day at the Nationals the next afternoon at a Nationals game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers. At the game, I also met a couple of former Miss D.C.'s in Teri Galvez and Tricia Morrin-Lloyd. Tricia and I got to talking about the upcoming pageant, and I ended up working with her online to help promote it. That turned out to be A LOT of fun!

As for the 2007 Miss DC pageant itself, I had a GREAT time! I got to see Kate perform, and also a bunch of other talented young women, including eventual winner, Shayna Rudd. I also got to meet Kate's parents and 1997 Miss D.C. Sonya Gavankar-McKay (and yes Sonya, I've been checking out your blog too!) I was struck by just how well-run the pageant was, and also how nice everyone was. I was definitely proud to have an affiliation with the Miss America organization and particularly the D.C. chapter of it!

This week marks the moment that Shayna has been targeting ever since winning the Miss D.C. pageant six months ago. The Miss America pageant preliminaries are currently under way, and in just two more days, she and the other 51 contestants will stake their claim on the crown. Who will be this year's "All-American Girl?" Unless you're going to the pageant (I have a Garth Brooks date earlier that day, so there is no way for me to go), you'll have to watch it on TLC from 8-10 P.M. ET this Saturday night. Other than Shayna, I still haven't picked out any personal favorites for this year's pageant yet... maybe by tonight I'll have some more. So for now, I'll just wish Shayna the best of luck!


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