After almost missing my connecting flight to Vegas due to delays on the tarmac, I touched down at approximately 2:00 pm Vegas time and had to rush to get my bags and get Planet Hollywood for the opening ceremonies photo shoot. Miss Idaho, Kara Jackson, had already arrived and was waiting on me to head to the hotel. After bags were grabbed, we jumped in the limo and we were off. During the ride from the airport to the hotel, both she and I talked about how surreal it was to be at Miss America as a Miss America contestant!
After arriving to the hotel, I had to run to the business center to pick up my boxes that I had shipped (absolutely the way to do it) along with lug my three suitcases. When I arrived to my room, I was ecstatic that my roommate was Miss Washington, Devanni. She was so fun during the time in Orlando and I was glad to get the opportunity to spend more time with her.
All the contestants convened down at one of the ballrooms to line up and be introduced at the Arrival Ceremony; then following the ceremony and interviews, we had a kickoff meeting and dinner where we were able to talk more in-depth about America’s Choice, CMN and the Miss America partnership and the new sponsors that came on board with Miss America.
Once the kickoff meeting had concluded and pictures had been taken, we were released to go back to our rooms. Both Devanni and I were neat freaks, so we spent a few hours organizing and preparing ourselves for the next day.
The Spice Market Buffet in the Planet Hollywood hotel provided the contestants breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. After our meal we were all introduced to the production team and choreographers and started rehearsing.
I am not a dancer…but by the end of the day I was able to pick up on the dance number a slight bit…at least enough to where I wasn’t embarrassing myself. That evening we went to the Venetian to ride the gondola rides and for photo ops.
By then my designated best friend was Taylor Treat, Miss Oklahoma, and we spent all of our free time together at the events and during rehearsals. She is a goon just like me and -- well, we are about the same person.... :)
The days were filled with rehearsals, but each evening was filled with a different event. Whether it be going to see Phantom, eating at Bucca di Beppo, Poll Position Raceway, CMN Breakfast, etc. there was always something planned.
Tuesday night was the first night of preliminary and I had talent. I was number one in the Alpha group and then had the rest of the evening to relax! I sang “Precious Lord” and you can see the YouTube video by clicking on the link below:
Wednesday, I participated in onstage interview. Thursday, Swimsuit and evening gown.
Each night after the preliminaries, the contestants were able to see their families and friends. That was a short-lived visit but better than nothing!
Unfortunately, I did not make it into the top 15 at Miss America, but I know in my mind and in my families/supporters’ I was top 15 in their book! Now, glad to be back home being Miss WV, lobbying the State Legislature and participating in the other scheduled appearances. It never stops…but the experiences in life are what make up the memories.
During the end of the week all of the contestants were exhausted and run down, but I guess I especially was. Friday, we had the “day off” from competition but had 5:00 am radio and TV appearances, rehearsal and Evening of Dreams event with those wanting to spend the evening with Miss America and the Miss America contestants.
I, however, was not able to attend that event. I had been worn out…so much so that each time we got a break, I was passed out asleep and even slept a slight bit standing up. I was not feeling well and that continued into Saturday. After a visit to the emergency room, prescriptions, IV’s, and some “mom time,” I was cleared to participate in the final night of competition. Whoever knew that once you FINALLY made it to Miss America that you would be "sick as a dog?"