Being Miss Maumee Valley

Monday, November 27, 2006

My apologies for the hiatus and lack of Thanksgiving wishes… How about I make it up to all my readers with a shiny new blog...


Monday, November 20, 2006

Congratulations to the New Titleholders- Karissa Martin, Chirstie Youssef and Ashley Miller!

This past Saturday there was something other than the OSU/Michigan game going on- a pageant! Former Miss Ohio Top 10 Semifinalists Roberta Camp and Nanciann Strosnider gave up their titles, sending two women to Miss Ohio for the first time.

The new Miss Scioto Valley is Karissa Martin [left]. The first time I saw her compete was last year at Miss Southeastern Ohio and she is one of those women of whom you automatically say “she will undoubtedly make it to Miss Ohio soon.” Karissa is a talented vocalist, usually performing “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story. She is studying Music and Theatre at West Liberty and advocates Skin Cancer Awareness.

Also heading to Miss Ohio for her first time is the new Miss Portsmouth, Christie Youssef [right]. However, it will not be her first time at a state pageant; while I believe she is originally from Ohio, as a pre-med student at Westmont College in Santa Barbara California, she held three local titles in that state. In her first year, 2004, Chirstie was named Fourth Runner-up to Miss California. Her platform is Domestic Abuse Awareness and for her talent she plays the harp or performs a monologue.

Jillian Dansko, a Communications major at John Carroll University was named First Runner-up. Jillian is a tap dancer competing for her third local title whose platform is Artistic Involvement for the Disabled. [Below left to right: Jillian Dansko, Katie Camp, Ashley Hartman, Amy Allen, Cassie Ann Rice, Ashley Brown]

The Second Runner-up was Ashley Hartman. Ashley, a lyrical dancer, is a Communications major at the University of Akron. She advocates Internet Safety, so of course she has a website,
click here to check it out! [Below left to right: unsure and Ashley Hartman]

Katie Camp was named Third Runner-up. Katie is a tap dancer studying dance at Wright State University. For her platform, Katie advocates Mentoring through the Arts. [Below left to right: Holly Sue Harris and Katie Camp]

The lovely Amy Allen, from whom I snagged most of these photos :), won the Spirit Award. She is a vocalist who works with Habitat for Humanity. She is a graduate student at Mount Vernon. [Below left to right: Katie Camp, Christie Youssef and Amy Allen]

The winner of Miss Portsmouth's Outstanding Teen was Ashley Miller; her twin sister Amber Miller was named First Runner-up and older sister Elizabeth Ann competed for the Miss titles. They're all below, but I couldn't tell you who is who!

I have but one question about the pageant's opening number- what if a contestant were a Michigan fan?!?!?

For more photos, check out
Roberta Camp's and Amy Allen's blogs.

Pageant Press: Pageant Playoff

The following is from the Portsmouth Daily News:

Pageant Payoff
Youssef, Martin and Miller take home titles in pageant

Sunday, November 19, 2006 9:53 PM EST

Christie Youssef, Karissa Martin and Ashley Miller were the winners in Saturday's pageants at Shawnee State University's Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.

Youseff, a 21-year-old Westmont College student, is the new Miss Portsmouth.

[Photo by Lindsay Niegelberg/Daily Times; Christie Youssef takes the stage Saturday night at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts during the pageants. Youssef was named the new Miss Portsmouth.]

“This shows that hard work pays off,” the Canfield native said. “I've been working hard for this for the last couple of months.”

Much of that hard work was spent practicing the harp. Youseff played “The Baroque Flamingo” for the talent portion of the show. Youseff lives about five hours away, but the Miss Portsmouth title is open to all women in the state. Besides working on her music, Youseff also planned her platform, which focuses on preventing domestic abuse.

Martin, an 18-year-old West Liberty State College student is Miss Scioto Valley. She could not be reached for comment.

Jillian Dansko from John Carroll University was first runner-up, Ashley Brown from Evangel University was second runner-up and Wright State University's Camp was third runner-up. Shawnee State University's Morgan Allard also competed.

Miller, 16, won the initial Miss Portsmouth Outstanding Teen pageant. She attends South Gallia High School.

“This is the first contest I've competed in,” Miller said. “I was just focused on having fun and enjoying the experience. I hoped I would be picked, but I didn't have my heart set on it.”

Amber Miller was the first runner-up. The 16-year-old's school was not available.

Emilee Lowe from East Junior High School, Kayla Reedy from Minford High School and Kaci Webb from Wheelersburg High School also participated in the pageant. The contestants competed in swimsuit and evening wear contests, performed song and dance routines and had a question-and-answer session. The teen contestants, however, did not participate in the swimsuit event. Instead, they wore active, or sportswear, clothing.

The winners will compete in June 2007 in Mansfield in the Miss Ohio Pageant in their respective programs.

Miss Ohio will then compete for the Miss America crown.

The event also featured several other pageants. Haven Dillow won the Tiny Miss title. Sicily Kiesel is the new Little Miss.

Brooklyn Thompson took the Junior Miss crown and Fred Gillenwater is Little Mr. Portsmouth.

Amy Allen won the Ellen Pasturzak Spinner Spirit Award.

Pasturzak is a former Miss Ohio from Franklin Furnace.

JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pageant Press: Shooting For Miss Ohio Crown

The following is from the Portsmouth Daily Times:

Shooting For Miss Ohio Crown

Staff Writer
Saturday, November 18, 2006 11:41 PM EST

Thirteen contestants took the stage on Saturday at Shawnee State University's Vern Riffe Center for the Arts with hopes of becoming Miss Ohio next year.

Five others were competing for the Miss Portsmouth Outstanding Teen title.

[Photo on the Right: Lindsay Niegelberg - Daily Times - Ashley Miller, of South Gallia High School, sings as part of the talent competition during the Miss Portsmouth Outstanding Teen competition on Saturday night.]

The evening featured the Miss Portsmouth, Miss Scioto Valley and Miss Portsmouth Outstanding Teen pageants. The winners will compete in June 2007 in Mansfield in the Miss Ohio Pageant.

Miss Ohio will then compete for the Miss America crown.

“This is to encourage girls to be involved with Miss America in the years to come,” reigning teen queen and Chillicothe resident Kelsey Ballew said. “We also have a princess program now, which is a feeder to the teens.”

Ballew won her title in April at the Miss Ohio Pageant in Mansfield.

The winners of Saturday's contests were not available at press time. But pageant producer Greg Davis said he will provide them to the Portsmouth Daily Times today for Monday's edition.

There were 13 contestants in the Miss Portsmouth/Miss Scioto Valley Pageant, including SSU student Morgan Allard.

They competed in swimsuit and evening wear contests, performed song and dance routines and had a question-and-answer session.

Emilee Lowe from East Junior High School, Kayla Reedy from Minford High School and Kaci Webb from Wheelersburg High School were among five teen contestants.

They competed in the same events as the older contestants, except for the swimsuit event. The teens wore active wear instead.

This is the 49th year for the Miss Portsmouth Scholarship Program and the first for the Miss Portsmouth Outstanding Teen Program.

“This is a great opportunity and I'm glad I was able to do it,” Ballew said. “I hope that someday I will get to compete at Miss Ohio and maybe Miss America. That's my dream.”

Ballew sang “Someone to Watch Over Me” on the SSU stage.

The winners in several pageants in the afternoon were also announced.

Haven Dillow won the Tiny Miss title.

Sicily Kiesel is the new Little Miss.

Brooklyn Thompson took the Junior Miss crown and Fred Gillenwater is Little Mr. Portsmouth.

JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Miss Portsmouth and Miss Scioto Valley Results

Miss Scioto Valley: Karissa Martin
Miss Portsmouth: Christie Youssef

1st Runner-up: Jilllian Dansko
2nd Runner-up: Ashley Hartman
3rd Runner-up: Katie Camp

Spirit Award: Amy Allen

Miss Portsmouth's Outstanding Teen: Ashley Miller
Teen 1st Runner-up: Amber Miller

Congratulations to everyone! More soon...

Best of Luck to the Miss Portsmouth and Miss Scioto Valley Scholarship Program Tonight!

Today in Portsmouth Ohio pageant director Greg Davis is putting on quit a production! In addition to crowning two Miss Contestants, two Teens will be crowned and I believe there will be additional “Little Miss and Mister” pageants.

The women doing the crowing are the lovely and talented Roberta Camp [right] and Nanciann Strosnider [left]. At Miss Ohio both these vocalists made the Top Ten. In September I had the pleasure of competing at Ohio USA with 'Berta where she made the Top 16. Nanciann is headed back to Miss Ohio for a third time, having won Miss Lake Erie just last weekend.

Director Greg Davis released the following contestant lists:

Miss Portsmouth/ Miss Scioto Valley contestants:
1. Ashley Hartman
2. Jillian Dansko
3. Cassie Ann Rice
4. Mellissa Marksberry
5. Elizabeth Ann Miller
6. Katie Camp
7. Amy Allen
8. Ashley Brown
9. Holly Sue Harris
10. Morgan Brooke Allard
11. Karissa Martin
12. Christie Youssef
13. Nicole Reidel

Outstanding Teen Contestants:
1. Ashley Miller
2. Emilee Lowe
3. Kayla Reedy
4. Kaci Webb
5. Amber Miller

This pageant will be taking place in the Vern Riffe Center on the campus of Shawnee State University. (This is the same wonderful facility which hosted the Miss Ohio USA pageant.) The Miss pageant begins at 7:30 p.m.
click here or here for more information.

Best of luck to everyone!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Little Miss Springfield

The following is one of my promos running on FOX Toledo today. I was excited to get to use my crown as a prop, and I thought you'd all get a kick out of it as well. And, yes... yes I realize that the crown doesn't show up too well and for some reason now that it's on YouTube, the sound isn't matching my mouth movements... I just joined YouTube in order to share this so I don't know much about it; leave a comment if you know how to fix it.

Click on the grey "play" button. And for the record, I don't select the background music!

Pageant Press: BGSU Women Compete for Miss Ohio Title

The following is the BGNews article I mentioned being interviewed for about a week ago. I think the reporter did a nice job, I only wish she could have included Becky more.

BGSU Women Compete for Miss Ohio Title

By Sarah Moore
November 17, 2006

Most young girls find themselves at one point or another imagining that they would be crowned one of the highest honors in a pageant, waving at the applauding crowd while cradling a bouquet of flowers in their arms.

For three current and former Bowling Green students, among others, this dream has come true.

Lauren Hogan, a senior majoring in Interpersonal Communications, was recently crowned Miss All-American City. She is a member of the campus organization Bacchus Gamma, and is also a peer educator.

Dance Performance and Exercise Specialist major Kristen Haas currently holds the title of Miss Maumee Valley 2007. She began competing when she was 18 years old, and has won $3,700 in scholarship money so far.

Both young women won their crowns at the Miss America Scholarship that was held on Saturday, Nov.. 4 in Maumee.

With Hogan and Haas' preliminary titles under their belts, they will be competing in the Miss Ohio pageant this summer.

Abby Bollenbacher, former Miss Maumee Valley, is a 2006 alumni that made it to the top ten round in the Miss Ohio pageant this year. She serves as an example to BG women that they can make it far as well, which should help with pre-pagent jitters that are rather common.

"People see us on stage and think that it's all glitz and glamour, but they don't see us backstage getting ready and spending countless hours preparing for our interviews or our different appearances that we make," Hogan said.

Sometimes television shows and movies, such as 'Miss Congeniality' and 'Tiara Girls', emphasize, stereotype and make fun of pageant life.

"I guess one of the biggest stereotypes is that pageant girls are nothing but princesses, or we're all cheerleaders and homecoming queens," Bollenbacher said. "I was neither of those things. There's nothing wrong with being the homecoming queen or a cheerleader - I just never fit that mold."

Haas tends to feel the same way. "People always say when I go on stage for my question do I answer, 'world peace', but that's probably the worst answer you could give," Haas said.

"I am an educated woman, and I know a lot about what's going on with the world. The women I compete with are some of the most educated people that you will ever come across. They've learned more in their lives of just 20 years than people will accomplish in their whole entire lives."

However, there is a difference between a beauty pageant and a scholarship pageant that the general public may not realize.

The Miss America circuit, whose four crowning points stand for style, success, scholarship and service, is a non-profit scholarship program that provides funds to further education for young women.

Other pageants are typically profitable programs, and they focus more on the whole beauty queen aspect.

Miss America is also based on three tiers: local, state and national levels. In order to reach the ultimate national goal, the local level must be achieved first.

In order to compete in a preliminary pageant, a personal platform must be designated for each contestant.

Bollenbacher's platform dealt with being a campus Springboard coach, because she wanted to give back to the school in return for the help she received while conquering various obstacles throughout her own college career.

Hogan's platform, titled "Risky Business", is a program aimed at preventing high risk behavior in today's youth.

She is focusing on high school aged students, and hopes that her title will help her advocate the program at different schools.

Heart disease is the issue for Haas' platform. She wants to educate women about the disease while encouraging them to live healthier lifestyles.

So what is it like to earn a pageant title while living the life of a college student?

Hogan feels as if the crown displays her hard work. "I feel like I'm one of those people that understand that I need to get certain things done," she said."

I'm not going to go out and party and all of those other things they say real college students do. I want to represent myself well, and especially the organizations that I'm in.

"Note: Bowling Green student Becky Minger won Miss Northwestern Ohio last Saturday, and will be competing in Miss Ohio alongside Hogan and Haas.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Introducing Two New Pageant Blogs... and what should I do with this one???

Upon the request/permission of Miss Clayland, Allie Krucek, and Amy Allen, I am pleased to announce their new blogs:

Miss Ohio Sisters


What I’ve Learned on My Journey

Both ladies are off to wonderful starts; be sure to check them out by clicking the titles above and make their blogs a usual stop in your internet routine!

[Photo on the left was taken backstage at Miss Maumee Valley and copied from Facebook.]

What Next?

Now that I am done with the MAO, many people have asked me, “you’re keeping your blog, right?” The answer is yes, of course, but I’m not sure exactly what my next blog will be… and I’d like some reader feedback to help me make that decision.

Because I used the title Miss Maumee Valley for the Miss Ohio USA pageant back in September, I could theoretically continue to claim that title until Miss Ohio USA 2007 next fall and continue using this blog with its current name. However, local USA titles are arbitrary and continuing to use “being Miss Maumee Valley” would feel contrived to me. Plus, I don’t want to confuse people or take away from Kristen, the new Miss Maumee Valley.

In my next phase of blogging I plan to continue reporting on all the pageant happenings around Ohio; now that I am no longer a contestant my commentary will likely include more opinions and critiques of the system. In the past I have shared information about the changes in the Miss America system, but as a contestant I didn’t feel it would be prudent to express my discontent or criticize issues I didn’t agree with. Now I feel free to analyze such matters at the local, state and national levels, with the intent of being a pro-active volunteer of the program. When I began blogging I wanted to share the process of being a contestant and preparing for competition, but I soon realized that as a competitor, I didn’t feel comfortable making much of that information public. Now that I am done competing, I hope to finally share some of that kind of information.

So… I obviously need a new blog title that indicates the pageant connection. I know I’m not Pageantry Magazine or or anything, but I really do feel like I offer Ohio pageant lovers and contestants an exclusive resource and I plan to continue that.

However, we all know that there can be weeks on end with no pageant action, so during pageant pauses I hope you’ll continue to endure or enjoy my personal updates, rants and randomness. Thus, I feel like I need a new blog name that indicates both pageant and personal… Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?

I’ve maintained this blog to cover the five titles over the past two weeks, but I hope to have a new blog named, up and running by the end of this week, so please, leave your feedback as a comment or send me an email at Oh drat, I need a new email address too!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

More Miss Northwestern Ohio Photos!

[In these photos: Miss Ohio Melanie Murphey, Outgoing Miss Northwestern Ohio Marisa Minor, the new Miss Northwestern Ohio Becky Minger, visiting titleholders Miss All*American City Lauren Hogan and Miss Clayland Allie Krucek. Oh, and me... :) ]

Click to enlarge these photos and check out all Loren's Miss Northwestern Ohio photos, including the contestants in Onstage Question and Evening Gown by visiting my Webshots account.

Miss Lake Erie Photos!

[Above L-R: Alyssa Speicher, Nanciann Strosnider and Jillian Dansko; Below left: Amy Allen and Ashley Hartman; Below right: Alyssa Speicher and Brandi Herceg.]

Contestant Order:

1. Alyssa Spiecher
2. Amy Allen
3. Megan Wombacker
4. Brianna Savoca
5. Jillian Dansko

6. Katie Camp
7. Angela Speece
8. Krystle Formosa

9. absent
10. Brandi Herceg
11. Nanciann Strosnider
12. Ashley Hartman

[Click to enlarge photos. On the right, top photo: unsure, Nanciann and Brianna; bottom photo: Brianna and two women who I don't know... please identify them in a comment.]

Congratulations to Brianna Savoca for winning the Spirit Award! I agree, she is definately a sweetheart! Also, the Outstanding Interview Award went to Nanciann Strosnider. As I posted below, Nanciann won the title and Talent, Jillian Dansko was the First Runner-up and Swimsuit winner and Alyssa "Ali" Speicher was Second Runner-up.

Special thanks to Amy Allen and Brandi Herceg for the photos and contestant order!

Pageant Press: Sylvania woman wins Miss NWO pageant

Darlene Prince wrote the following for the Crescent-News:

Sylvania woman wins Miss NWO pageant

A triple dose of talent, poise and beauty propelled Sylvania resident Becky Minger into winning the Miss Northwestern Ohio Scholarship Pageant crown on Saturday night.

The 31st pageant was held in the Defiance Community Auditorium.

Minger, 18, was chosen from a field of 12 contestants, which included six young women from Defiance, Henry and Fulton counties. She also won the talent award for her rendition of the song, “Whenever You Remember.” Included in the talent award is the traditional silver bowl from the Fort Defiance Players and $200 from Jim Estep.

Defiance contestant Samantha Pixler was fourth runner-up and received a $200 scholarship.
With the crown, Minger earns a $1,500 scholarship and the opportunity to go on to the Miss Ohio Scholarship Pageant in Mansfield next year. The winner of that pageant will compete in the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas.

The first-runner-up was Heather Waterman, Celina, who received a $600 scholarship. Second runner-up was Rachel Maris, Ada, who was given a $400 scholarship. Third runner-up was Danielle Bash, Findlay, who will get a $300 scholarship.

Minger was almost speechless as she was crowned by the 2006 Miss Northwestern Ohio queen, Marisa Minor. “I am just so excited,” she said. “I did not really expect to win the pageant and the talent competition, too. I am excited to be going to the Miss Ohio contest.”

Receiving the annual Charles Perkins Award was Elizabeth Lopez, who serves as a hostess for the young women competing in the pageant. This award is given each year by the Miss Northwestern Ohio Scholarship Pageant committee for time and service donated by an individual to the pageant. The award was named after Charles Perkins, the first director of the pageant.

Other area competitors in the pageant were Defiance resident Mellissa Marksberry; Cassandra Fruchey, Napoleon; Tiffany Westfall, Liberty Center; Jamie Burns, Delta; and Abigail Goldsmith, Swanton.

Also competing were Brandy Willoughby, Findlay; and Janelle Zindroski, North Royalton. Each non-finalist receives a $100 scholarship.

Scholarship funds are donated by private individuals and businesses.

Minger will go on to compete in the Miss Ohio pageant against a number of contestants, including Lauren Hogan of Napoleon and Kristen Haas of Rocky River, who both recently won separate pageants in Maumee. The pair originally had been entered in the Miss Northwestern Ohio pageant.

Pageant organizers are hopeful that Minger will place high in the Miss Ohio competition.

Shirley Lemaster, of the Miss Northwestern Ohio pageant, said that two former pageant winners have gone on to win the Miss Ohio crown. Robin Hancock won the Miss NWO pageant in 1994 and won Miss Ohio a year later. Kelly Creager, who was Miss NWO in 1996, also won the Miss Ohio crown a year later.

Several winners of the Miss NWO pageant have placed in the Miss Ohio pageant. They are Minor, who was among the top 10 finishers this year; 2001 queen Charlotte Eble, who was third runner-up in 2002; and 1997 queen Kristen Carpenter, who was second runner-up in 1998.

Working with the theme, “Music Across America,” the evening began with Defiance Dance Studio performers presenting the country song, “Cotton Eyed Joe.”

There was a somber note as Marisa Minor sang the song, “There Will Come a Day,” to images of American soldiers serving in the Mideast and other places.

thoughtful touch to the evening was given by emcee, Mark Schnitkey, who thanked, several times, the veterans of the armed services who were in the audience.

The finale, a moving rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” was performed by the Miss Northwestern Ohio Choir directed by Eric West and accompanied on the piano by Suzi Blank.

Northwest State Community College also offered a $750, tuition-only scholarship to the winner and $500 tuition-only scholarship to the first runner-up.

Serving as mistress of ceremonies was Melanie Murphy, Miss Ohio 2006.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Congrats to the New Miss Northwestern Ohio, Becky Minger!

Call the presses! The upcoming BGNews article on Falcon women succeeding in pageants will now include one more- BGSU Journalism and Musical Arts major, Becky Minger! Tonight in Defiance Becky won the Outstanding Talent award and was crowned by Marisa Minor! Miss Northwestern is known for high scholarships and Becky raked it in tonight, earning $1700 total. For talent she sang “Whenever You Remember” popularized by Carrie Underwood and her platform is Building Self-esteem in Youth “It’s not your booty, it’s your inner-beauty.” This is Becky’s second title; as Miss Greater Dayton she was First Runner-up to Melanie Murphy and the Miss Ohio crown this past July.

Becky’s First Runner-up was Heather Waterman of Celina. Heather competed last weekend in Maumee and was a Runner-up at Miss Lake Festival earlier this pageant season. She is a vocalist who advocates Mentoring. She earned a $600 scholarship to further her studies at Wright State University.

The lovely Rachel Maris was Second Runner up and also won the all important Outstanding Interview award and $650 total. Rachel sang “On My Own’ and advocates the importance of vision care for children. She has an undergraduate degree from Ohio Northern University and is now pursuing graduate studies at Rio Grande University (which, is in Ohio, not desert-town-USA.)

Third Runner-up honors and $300 went to Danielle Bash. She is a harpist and fans of former Miss Northwestern Ohio, Amber Stafford would remember the song she performed. Like Amber, Danielle is from Findlay, I didn’t get the chance to ask Danielle if perhaps she knows Amber. Her platform is the Importance of Arts in Schools.

Finally, the Fourth Runner-up was vocalist Samantha Pixler. She earned a $200 scholarship and her platform is Increasing Involvement in School Organizations.

Congratulations to the Miss Northwestern Ohio program for giving out the largest amount of scholarships in their history! No women walks away from this pageant empty handed, each nonfinalist received a $100 scholarship.

The contestant order was as follows:

1. Mellissa Marksberry
2. Abigail Goldsmith
3. Becky Minger
4. Brandy Willoughby
5. Heather Waterman
6. Tiffany Westfall
7. Samantha Pixler
8. Janelle Zindroski
9. Would have been the new Miss Maumee Valley Kristen Haas…
10. Hanna Hauman
11. Rachel Maris
12. Danielle Bash
13. Would have been the new Miss All*American City Lauren Hogan…
14. Jamie Burns
15. Cassandra Fruchey

Unfortunately Loren and I were both working late, and thus, only caught the last three talents, onstage question and gown. From what we saw, outgoing Miss Northwestern Ohio Marisa Minor, Miss Ohio Melanie Murphy and Mark Schnitkey did a wonderful job emceeing. Marisa and Mark performed a beautiful number from Phantom of the Opera, complete with ballerinas. The finale included gorgeous choral music and an enormous flag!

Congrats to all!... Many more photos coming soon...

Congrats to the New Miss Lake Erie, Nanciann Strosnider!

Miss “Fancy-pants” Strosnider [left] snuck in under the radar, I had no idea she was even competing! (Nickname courtesy of former Miss Ohio, Marlia Fontaine.) Congratulations to Nanciann for capturing the title and Outstanding Talent Award! She is a Broadway vocalist who advocates The Arts. She was, of course, crowned by the outgoing Miss Lake Erie, Leslie Ondrey. Like Leslie, Nanciann has a strong track record on the Miss Ohio stage, having placed in the Top Five her first year and in the Top Ten this past July as Miss Portsmouth. Originally from the Cincinnati area, she is currently studying Musical Theatre and Broadcast Journalism at Elon University in North Carolina.

The First Runner-up was pageant veteran Jillian Dansko. Jillian is a Communications major at John Carroll University. She is a Tap Dancer who advocates Arts for the Disabled. Just like at Miss Ohio this past July, tonight Jillian also took home top honors in Swimsuit.

Alyssa Speicher was the Second Runner-up. She is a baton twirler who place First Runner-up last weekend in Maumee. She is studying Dentistry and Microbiology at Miami of Ohio.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Best of Luck to the Miss Northwestern Ohio and Miss Lake Erie Pageants, both tonight!

Like last Saturday, it’s another double crown night!... But more traditionally, that means two separate pageants, some three hours away from each other. In Defiance, the beautiful Marisa Minor will crown a new Miss Northwestern Ohio and in Lexington, the talented Leslie Ondrey will give up her final title, Miss Lake Erie!

[The photo above was snapped by Jerry Deitsch from the balcony after Miss Ohio was crowned this past July. None of us remember this moment and it’s pretty impressive that he caught it with no one onstage around us! L-R: Leslie, me and Marisa.]

I had to joy of crowing Marisa Miss Northwestern Ohio last year; this was her second title, having also been a Miss Lake Festival like me. We hail from the same county and it has been wonderful getting to know her over the past couple years. At Miss Ohio this past July Marisa was in the Top 10 and for a second year in a row won the Miss America Community Service award for her work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I’m sure she will contribute to a wonderful show tonight with her vocal talent. Miss Ohio, Melanie Murphy, will also be at this pageant serving as a co-emcee! It begins at 7:30 in the Defiance Community Auditorium. CLICK HERE for more information.

This program lost two of its contestants last weekend when Lauren Hogan and Kristen Haas won my titles, but rumor has it the following women, listed in alphabetical order, are still competing:

*Danielle Bash is an 18 year old harpist from Findley who advocates Arts in Schools.

*Jamie Burns of Delta is a 19 year old Tap Dancer; her platform is Arthritis Awareness.

*Cassandra Fruchey is a vocalist from Napoleon who’s platform is the Pressures of Sex. She is 22.

*Abigail Goldsmith is an 18 year old from Swanton; she twirls Baton and her platform is Preventing Animal Cruelty.

*Hannah Hauman is a 17 year old from Findlay; she is a vocalist who promotes programs for Mental and Physical Disabilities.

*Racheal Maris is a vocalist from Ada, this 22 year olds platform is Visual impairment in children.

*Mellissa Marksberry is a Defiance native who advocates Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness. For her talent this 22 year old will perform a vocal selection.

*Becky Minger is an 18 year old vocalist from Sylvania; she advocates Building Self Esteem in youth.

*Samantha Pixler is a 17 year old Defiance native; she is a vocalist whose platform is Involvement in School Organizations.

*Heather Waterman of Celina is a 19 year old vocalist; her platform is the Importance of Mentoring.

*Tiffany Westfall of Liberty Center is a 17 year old gymnastics. She advocates Ovarian Caner Awareness and Research.

*Brandy Jo Willoughby is a 20 year old comedian from Findlay; her platform is Positive Messages for Youth.

*Janelle Zindroski is a BGSU student originally from North Royalton; this 19 year old will perform a vocal talent and advocates Teen Volunteering.

Note, participation in this program is restricted to women in specific northwestern Ohio counties.

Leslie Ondrey has been a fierce competitor at Miss Ohio for the past three years, placing in the Top 5 with each of her local titles and twice winning preliminary talent awards for her operatic performances! Unfortunately, like me, she has reached the dreaded age of 24, meaning she can no longer compete in the Miss America system. I’m certain tonight she will put on a phenomenal final performance as she gives up the title, Miss Lake Erie. The pre-show will begin at 7 p.m. at Lexington High School. CLICK HERE for more information about this program, which
is open to contestants from across the state.

I only know of a few women competing in this program, they are:

*Amy Allen, a graduate student at Mount Vernon. She is a vocalist who works with Habitat for Humanity.

*Jillian Dansko is a tap dancer attending John Carroll University. Her platform is Arts for the Disabled.

*Alyssa Speicher is a baton twirler attending Ohio State University; she advocates Increasing Awareness for Cardiovascular Disease.

I think Brandi Herceg is competing, she is a dancer attending Franciscan University; her platform is “Healthy Hearts are Happy Hearts.”

Best of luck to Randy, Amy and the entire Miss Northwestern crew and James and his volunteers at Miss Lake Erie, as well as to all the contestants! I have a FOX event, which I’m not sure what time I’ll get out of, but I’m going to try to make it to Miss Northwestern, even if I’m more fashionably late than normal!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pending Pageant Press

Over the past few years as the Forensics team PR chair, and doing all my own pageant press, I have learned that getting newspaper articles is like pulling teeth! So I am ecstatic to announce that the BGNews is working on a pageant article!

I had an interview this afternoon with a reporter; she is writing an article about BG students' success in pageants, spurred by the following press release which I sent out Sunday. Her deadline is Tuesday, so depending who wins Miss Northwestern Ohio this Saturday, the article may include not three, but four Falcon women! We'll see...

November 5, 2006


Bowling Green State University students Lauren Hogan and Kristen Haas both received preliminary titles in the Miss America Scholarship Saturday, November 4 in Maumee. Next summer they will compete in the Miss Ohio pageant held in Mansfield.

Hogan was crowned Miss All-American City and received a $1,000 scholarship. She is BG senior majoring in Interpersonal Communications. For the talent competition, which is worth thirty-five percent of the overall score, Hogan sang “I Could Have Danced All Night” from the musical My Fair Lady. In the Miss America system, contestants must advocate a community service platform; Hogan’s is “Risky Business: Preventing High Risk Behavior in Today’s Youth.” This will be Hogan’s first attempt for the Miss Ohio crown.

Out of the fourteen contestants from around the state, BGSU student Kristen Haas won the second title, Miss Maumee Valley. She is a Dance Performance major; for her talent she performed a jazz routine to “Dance With Somebody.” Haas also won the Outstanding Interview award. The twelve minute interview comprises twenty-five percent of the contestants score. During the interview Haas discussed her social platform issue, Preventing Heart Disease in Women, as well as current events and social issues. Miss Maumee Valley is Haas’ second local title, this past July she competed at Miss Ohio as Miss Chillicothe.

Hogan and Haas were both crowned by outgoing Miss Maumee Valley, Abby Bollenbacher. Bollenbacher is also a Falcon, having graduated BGSU with a Communications degree, specializing in Theatre. As Miss Maumee Valley, she was named to the Top 10 at Miss Ohio and she is now the second BG grad to become the Face of FOX Toledo.

Other BGSU contestants were second runner-up Becky Minger, Janelle Zindroski and alum Mellissa Marksberry.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Final Farewell Letter....

Below is the farewell letter that appeared in the pageant program book last weekend:

Our lives are shaped by the choices we make; when I chose to enter my first scholarship pageant in the Miss America system six years ago, I had no idea that my decision would afford me so many incredible opportunities and shape my future in such a positive way.

It’s hard to believe that Miss Maumee Valley is my last title in this pageant system and that I am done! While I am saddened that I have “aged out” and would love to keep competing, I am excited for the next phase in my life, a phase I know will be successful thanks to what I have learned from pageants.

Only three months after graduating with my Theatre degree, I have landed a job in the entertainment field as the Face of Fox Toledo. I was selected out of nearly a hundred hopefuls, after a three round elimination process. In my final interview, I sat in front of a panel of six interviewers and three camera people, all watching and waiting to be impressed by me. Thanks to pageants, this unnerving situation was one I had faced two dozen times before. I had heard many pageant women say it before me, and now I agree, my experience in pageant interviews made a real job interview a walk in the park! I am now an on air personality and station representative for hundreds of public events. I know I landed this job thanks to the public speaking, stage presence and interview skills I learned while competing in the Miss America Scholarship program.

I feel like I literally "grew up" within the Miss America system, learning how to succeed under pressure, maturely handle personality conflicts and present myself at an array of public events. As an aspiring actress, singer and model, I can not imagine any other way to gain such valuable stage experience. My journey through what I like to call “pageantland” was filled with joy, tears, glamour, hard work, heartbreak and maturing. Thank you to everyone who put up with me, and helped me through the various steps of this journey.

Especially all my local directors along the way: Melissa Hoying, Ron Hammons, Jerry Deitsch and the crew from Miss Lake Festival who dealt with me at my worst! Melissa and the late Donna Jenkins of Miss Lorain County who allowed me to learn from my mistakes. Ronda Morris and Debbie White Jones of Miss Miami Valley who filled me with confidence! Amy Shaw, Randy Schroeder, Shirley LeMaster and the Miss Northwestern Ohio committee who made me feel more prepared than an astronaut going to space!

To Eric and Linda Wagener of Miss Maumee Valley, it has been an honor to represent your pageant in my final year. You have been a supportive presence in my pageant career since the beginning and I thank you and your entirefamily. From “old lady” jokes to life sized posters of me you made my final year at Miss Ohio wonderful!

Also, special thanks to my friends and family who have supported me along the way: Brian, Monte, Schad, Gabriell, Aunt Marjie, Grandma and Grandpa, Nancy, Loren and Cecilia, Brandon, Allison, the BGSU Forensics team, Jeff, Montana, all my Miss Ohio roommates, all the Miss Ohio volunteers and my amazing Miss Ohio chaperone and hostess, Brenda and Ginny!

Finally, there aren’t words to adequately express my gratitude to the core of my support system. Thank you to Maria Jones for being a constant source of positive encouragement! Loren, thank you for not only sharing the joyous moments with me, but also being my sounding board and shoulder to cry on. I am so lucky to be in a committed relationship with someone who supports all of my dreams. To my mom and dad, six years ago when you allowed me to begin all this, I never imagined how close it would bring us! You have been with me every stiletto-clad step of the way and I could NOT have done it without your constant encouragement. Thank you!

I am proof that persistence in the pageant world pays off, but I could not have done it alone. Thank you to everyone who has been there along the way.


Monday, November 06, 2006

More Photos from MMV, MAAC and MVOT!

For those of you who couldn’t attend the show, the special cameo role I mentioned was my longtime beau, Loren, playing Howie Mendel for the “Deal or No Deal” theme. For having next to no stage experience and only a days notice, I thought he did amazing! He was also the official photographer. In balancing those two responsibilities, he was not able to capture every woman in every phase of competition. Nor was he able to get the settings on his fancy camera perfected. So the photos are not as wonderful as what he took at Miss Ohio, but they’re better than nothing! Check them out in my new Webshots albums by clicking below:

Competition Photos

Crowning Photos

Note, Webshots has changed some of its features, and I absolutely hate it! You can still save these photos to your own computer, but it takes a few more steps… When you first click on an album you want to view, all the photos will come up as thumbnails… Click on a specific photo to enlarge it… under each enlarged photo there will be several options in the form of icons… Click on the second icon from the left to “view the photo full size.” By doing that the photo should pop up in its own window. From there you can right click to “copy” or “save” it. These are high quality, large photos which do not forward easily via email. Also, some of them need to be brightness balanced and cropped, but to get them on the internet faster I did not do any such editing.


--- Edit 8:50 p.m.---
To answer the person who commented below, yes, of course my wonderful parents were there to watch me give up my final title! I couldn't have done any of it without them.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Miss Maumee Valley and Miss All*American City Photos

Congratulations to the New Titleholders- Lauren Hogan, Kristen Haas and Kellie Kulka!

I can not begin to express how tired I am right now!!!! So, yes there are wonderful photos of tonights pageant, but for now all you're getting from me are the results!

Congratulations to the new Miss All-America City, Lauren Hogan!

Congratulations to the new Miss Maumee Valley, Kristen Haas!

Congratulations to the new Maumee Valley Outstanding Teen, Kellie Kulka!

Miss 1st RU: Alyssa Speicher
Miss 2nd RU: Becky Minger

Teen 1st RU: Kali Savoca

Miss Outstanding Interview: Kristen Haas
Miss Outstanding Talent: Alyssa Speicher

Miss contestant order:
1. Alyssa Speicher
2. Brandi Herceg
3. Laura Estrada
4. Amy Allen
5 Rachel Maris
6. Janelle Zindroski
7. Heather Waterman
8. Mellissa Marksberry
9. Becky Minger
10. Kristen Haas
11. Jamie Burns
12. Jillian Dansko
13. absent
14. Lauren Hogan
15. Brianna Savoca

Teen contestant order:
1. Kali Savoca
2. absent
3. Haley Matuszynski
4. Haley Devers
5. Kellie Kulka

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Come to Miss Maumee Valley, Miss All*American City and Maumee Valley's Outstanding Teen Pageant Tonight!

Tonight at 7 p.m. I will give away my final MAO title! The pageant will be held in the Maumee High School Performing Arts Center. (Maumee is basically connected to Toledo.)

The Performing Arts Center is located on the back side of the school; look for the football stadium. There are no stairs either for the audience to enter the facility or the contestants to load their things into the dressing room. CLICK HERE to get directions.

Trust me, you don't want to miss this! Three women will be crowned and someone very special to me is participating in the show in an exciting cameo role!!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Miss Maumee Valley/ Miss All*American City Venue

Last week I went with Eric Wagener to the new location of Miss Maumee Valley/Miss All*American City and it is wonderful! This is the fourth year for this pageant, and the fourth location, but I think they have finally found a home.

The photos below are from Maumee High School's website and do not do this brand new space justice! [Click to enlarge]

The lobby is very open and beautiful.

Television monitors in the lobby will likely be on, so you won’t miss any of the pageant on your trip to and from the washroom! Concessions will also be sold.

Both the house and stage in this theatre are HUGE! A large practice room located behind the stage is where the interviews will take place. I hope the ladies all look good in purple because that’s the color of all the walls in this room! Despite the color, I think this space will be great for interview because there will be absolutely no distractions for either the judges or contestants. In the photo there seem to be some scenery being stored in this room, but it will be cleared and the curtains will be pulled over the mirrors. I have also requested this room remain open after the interviews so the woman can warm up for Talent.