Nutshell time (because you know I can go on). Saturday, March 6, began early, early. We asked the girls to be at the Stillwater Community Center at 8:00 a.m. and once we were all moved in, we began rehearsal.
We’re pretty good at the one day pageant. It’s what we’ve done every year since we started. With 12 contestants, it can be accomplished in a day if everyone works hard. We started out with opening number and then went through all the other phases of competition until the husbands arrived to rehearse their portion at noon.
Rachel, Mrs. Oklahoma 2009, is a phenomenal dancer and she is now our choreographer. She created an opening number to U Got the Look by Prince. Upbeat, fun, HARD from the looks of it. Oh no. I told the girls we walk, maybe move hands/arms, sway, but no dancing. This looks like dancing to me. But they got it! After a while, it all just came together and they looked fabulous up there.
We had technical difficulties. None of the music CDs I had burned would play. Sean, the technical guy at the SCC, should receive a medal or something. Infinitely patient, smart, helpful, he is a joy to work with and we got it all up and running with time to spare.
My day is spent running around taking care of so many things. I had left the rehearsal in the very capable hands of my former Mrs. Oklahomas, Shelly (field general), Rachel (choreographer), and Brookie (encourager in chief) and was free to move about, make that run about, the building.
There comes a point in the day where I see it all come together. That happened when we finally got the fitness wear music to work for rehearsal. I stood back in the control booth and I just “saw” it all gel. I cried. I’m such a sap and I do a lot of crying throughout the pageant. I work on it all year and that point is just monumental and sets me up for the rest of the event.
The ladies had their one-on-one interviews with the judges beginning at 3. I had just enough time to change into something more presentable to greet our amazing judging panel. I was so honored to have Laine and Kevin Berry, Yvonne Stevens, Monique Terrell and Jon Conneely judge for us this year. They were well prepared, friendly and focused. Brookie served as our judge’s chair this year and I loved her in that role. She is so friendly, fun and helpful that I knew she was the one who should fill that spot. Oh, and I trust her with my life.
The day just speeds up after the interviews are over. Time for another costume change to get ready for the pageant to start. I was able to meet and talk to several people whom I hadn’t met before or seen in a while before the pageant started which was great.
The pageant was flawless. Gets me all choked up to think about it, again. The ladies were beautiful and did a great job. Shelly runs a tight ship and we moved through the program at a nice pace. Sherri, managed the stage for us and did a great job. It was sad to say goodbye to our three younger 2009 titleholders. But they will always be the queens of my heart.
Then it was time to say farewell to Rachel. She still doesn’t know how much she means to me, I’m sure. She was an amazing Mrs. Oklahoma and is an amazing friend. It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to the reigning Mrs. Oklahoma. I want her to know how much she means to me but I don’t want the new Mrs. Oklahoma to think there isn’t room in my heart for her because there is.
Our new Mrs. Oklahoma, Stephanie was crowned. She will be a wonderful Mrs. Oklahoma and I’m excited to spend the year with her. I look forward to our 12 hour car ride to Nationals, the experience of the national pageant, and then the remaining portion of the year we have left when we get back to Oklahoma. Growing her platform, growing the pageant, spreading the International word.
I don’t have my own girls and these girls, ladies, of the Oklahoma International Pageant are my girls. I love them all, could not do it without them. My life is so much better for being able to be a part of their lives. What we share is priceless and amazing. I am truly blessed.