Sunday, December 27, 2009

Miss Kansas USA 2010

December 19 & 20, 2009

My mother and I hit the road for Lawrence, Kansas a few weeks ago and attended the Miss Kansas USA 2010 Pageant. We arrived on Saturday evening for the Preliminary Show and left early Monday morning after the Coronation Show the night before.

On Sunday afternoon, I headed over to the theater to see the ladies during rehearsals, wish them all good luck, and offer some encouraging words. Afterward, I participated in an interview with an NBC camera crew associated with the Miss USA/Universe Organization. They were doing an “On the Road To…” segment and many of the Kansas USA contestants were able to be involved.

Following the interview, my mother and I headed down to Massachusetts Street, where we discovered an array of intriguing shops and fun places to dine. We chose to eat at a little restaurant called “noodles.” Considering that we were walking around in the freezing cold all afternoon, the chicken noodle soup I ordered really hit the spot!

Before leaving Lawrence, we were put on a mission to find KU gear for the family back in Oklahoma. (My older sisters, along with their husbands, are HUGE JayHawk Fans) Samantha, my oldest sister, has a two-year-old named Faith, and is pregnant with her second child. (We call him “Jr.” because they haven’t named him yet ;) ) Her ONLY request was that we come home with KU outfits for her, for Faith, and for the baby. Haha... Mission Accomplished!!! ;)

Here's a picture of Faith in some of her KU gear with her puppy "Jay." (Short for "JayHawk," of course!)

Later, we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the big show! Immediately after arriving at the Leid Center, I met my “pageant sister,” Ashley Strohmier, Miss Missouri USA 2010. She is awesome. We clicked instantly and it made me even more ecstatic about the upcoming year. Turns out, we have many things in common. To name a few: We were both the swimsuit winners in our state pageants, we are both total “Grammar Geeks” and “Word Nerds,” we both love God and country, and here’s the kicker— I turn 21 on March 11th, and she turns 21 on March 12th! –I’m feeling a joint birthday comin’ on ;) I really enjoyed meeting Ashley. She was a delight and kept me laughing the whole night.

As far as the pageant itself goes, the young women looked phenomenal and I was so proud of all of them. As many of you know, a friend of mine, Bethany Gerber, competed for the title of Miss Kansas USA and WON the title!!!! I told Bethany in the Spring of 09 how she needed to compete for Miss Kansas USA and here we are together, almost a year later, both state titleholders and “Vanbros sisters.” Vanbros has some lovely ladies on their hands this year and I think it’s safe to say that we are all looking forward to Miss USA in April.

Bethany attends the University of Oklahoma and I attend Oklahoma State University. We met and became friends due to her older brother and my boyfriend being best friends. The boys have been roommates for years and both play basketball for the University of Oklahoma. Bethany and I always enjoy going to basketball games together. In fact, we were at the OU vs. UTEP basketball game at the Oklahoma City Ford Center the DAY AFTER she won her title! :) (12/21/09)  She was still on cloud nine as you can imagine! ;) Bethany and I can hardly believe that we will be sharing this life changing experience together as we venture off to Vegas in the spring. We couldn’t be happier for each other and look forward to all of the memories we will be making throughout the year!

Viva Las Vegas! Look out Trump, here come the MIDWEST GIRLS!!!! ;)

Congrats again to both of our stunning new title holders, Bethany Gerber, Miss Kansas USA 2010, and Olivia Harlan, Miss Kansas Teen USA 2010. I have no doubt that you both will make the state of Kansas incredibly proud!

-Morgan Woolard
Miss Oklahoma USA 2010

P.S. – A much needed side note:

I’d also like to give a "shout out" to a few other ladies who competed in the pageant this weekend:

-Trinity Wright – I met her for the first time at the Miss Oklahoma USA pageant this year and she was precious. I was really happy for her top 5 placement.
-Jaymie Stokes – I am also elated for this young lady. I actually helped judge in 2007 when she won Miss Kansas Teen USA. She looked beautiful.
-Amber Ross – Miss Ross is another young women I would like to congratulate. She was Miss Kansas Teen USA 2002. We judged together at the Vanbros 15th anniversary pageant in Lawrence three years ago. Amber has the kindest spirit and I was heartbroken when she didn’t make the 5. She was most certainly deserving.
-Lily Wu – I was completely beaming for Lily when she was called to the top 5. I couldn’t think of a more worthy young lady. She worked incredibly hard and she was extremely articulate during her onstage interview.
-Carissa Kelley – I met the former Miss Kansas Teen USA 2004 after the pageant on Sunday night. She was such an endearing young woman. Carissa shined last night and I want to congratulate her fantastic placement as 1st runner up to Miss Kansas USA 2010.

All of these girls rocked the house! Congrats Ladies! Best wishes!

Centennial Elementary

On Tuesday morning, December 15, I made a visit to Centennial Elementary for my first appearance as Miss Oklahoma USA 2010. Speaking on behalf of “Action for Healthy Kids,” my goal was to encourage and to inform the students of how to live a healthy lifestyle, while allowing them to have a ton fun in the process!

I really wanted to engage the children in everything I was teaching and do several “hands on” activities. I spoke to three separate divisions: The third grade, the fourth grade, and the fifth grade. The kids were all eyes and ears as I asked them an array of questions, called on numerous volunteers, played various games, and gave out a dozen prizes. The kids especially enjoyed the obstacle course I created for them. I had the students jumping inside hoops, shouting out their favorite fruits and vegetables, running through cones, and doing exercises like sit ups, push ups, and jumping jacks! It was a blast!

At one point in my speech, I demonstrated to the kids the outrageous amount of sugar within our soda drinks. The students were surprised to learn that a 24 fl oz bottle of coke contained 20 whopping teaspoons of sugar!

After I was done speaking, I visited a few classrooms and read a book to the third graders. Following the book reading, the students were open to ask questions. One young lady asked me if I would sing for her and I obliged! Once I began to sing, all of the kids joined in and we had a magnificent time singing Christmas carols together and getting even more excited for the arrival of the holidays. While many questions were clever and others very endearing, many were awfully humorous as well. One little guy inquired whether or not I had any poisonous turtles for pets. haha…Do those kids have large imaginations, or what?!

After it was all said and done I took a picture with every single child for Christmas. --Boy, were my cheeks sore afterward! Ha!

My time with the kids reminded me of exactly why the title of Miss Oklahoma USA is such an honor to hold and how much of an opportunity I have as a titleholder to influence others. There is nothing quite like being bombarded with dozens of hugs from a bunch of little boys and girls and being tackled by hundreds of elementary kids.

The students were so unbelievably eager to learn and I was extremely thankful for having their full attention throughout my entire visit. Visiting Centennial Elementary and having the opportunity to share with the students was an incredibly special experience.

A couple of days ago, I received loads of homemade thank you cards (those are the best kind) from the students. The pictures the kids drew for me were absolutely precious and completely made my day.

I truly believe that teaching our children healthy habits now will be incredibly instrumental in helping them to create and keep healthy habits later on in life. It was a blessing to be able to share with Centennial Elementary!

Conceive it. Believe it. Achieve it.

-Morgan Woolard

Friday, December 11, 2009

Conceive it. Believe it. Achieve it.

It has been almost 20 days since I was crowned Miss Oklahoma USA 2010 and I am still in a whirlwind! Hearing my name called Sunday night, November 22, was like being in a dream. I feel so unbelievably blessed to hold the title of Miss Oklahoma USA and I aspire to make this one of the most incredible years of my life.

I am thrilled beyond belief to be working with Vanbros & Associates for a second time around. For those of you who do not know John, Jason and Jen personally, they are truly incredible people. They have a gift to inspire and they demonstrate this every day in the lives of young women. The entire Vanbros staff has an unbelievable heart to serve and to make a difference. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about my directors not only as individuals, but also about Vanbros as a whole. It is a privilege to work with this fantastic group of people and I consider myself blessed to know them. I am honored to be a part of their family forever; I am a lucky girl. Together, along with my pageant sisters in Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas, we are going to make this an unforgettable year.

To conclude, I am extremely humbled to hold the title of Miss Oklahoma USA 2010 and I desire to do everything in my power to make my state proud. I realize what an extraordinary opportunity I have to influence others throughout my year as Miss Oklahoma USA and I am passionate about doing so. I want more than anything to use this gift I have been given to bless, to impact, to inspire, to motivate, and to encourage. My biggest regret would be to deny the magnitude of this great honor and to take for granted what I have been given. I recognize the responsibility, the privilege, and the prestige of holding a USA title and I long to take full advantage of every opportunity that arises.

If you can conceive it…and if you can believe it…then you can achieve it…

…Thank you again to everyone. …..Thank you for supporting me….
…And thank you for believing in me….

-Warmest regards,
Morgan Woolard, Miss OK USA

My "Thank You's"

TO GOD: First and foremost I want to thank God for blessing me with this incredible opportunity. Wow!! I am so unbelievably honored to represent the state of Oklahoma at the National Miss USA Pageant. God is so good! I plan to take full advantage of this incredible gift I have received! Thank you, Lord.

TO MY FAMILY: You guys are the best. Thank you so much for all of your love and support. Sam, thank you for the frequent phone calls to pump me up and for always believing in me. Also, thank you for duplicating the "Show me the Crown" sign you made when I won Teen! It is clearly good luck ;) Allie, thanks for coming and cheering loudly for your baby sis! Mom and Dad, thank you for funding everything and allowing me to purchase a stunning gown and swimsuit, along with everything else! Cade, thank you for supporting me throughout this journey! You are all wonderful and I love you with all my heart!

MOM: A special thank you to Mom, especially, for being the backbone of my preparation. I can't thank you enough for your financial support and for helping me get organized, packed and ready to go! I don't even know where to begin in thanking you. You are truly amazing and are deserving of a thousand thank you's!

VANBROS: A big thanks to the Vanbros Family. It is such an honor to work with you guys again. I love you all so much! I cannot say enough good thinga about every single one of you and I feel honored to know you and be a part of the Vanbros Clan forever! You guys are some of the best directors in the nation! Boy am I a lucky Girl! You are incredible people and I have a high respect for your entire staff. You guys are the BEST! Love you John, Jen, Jason, Karen, Andria, Jocelyn,Will...everybody!!!!

TO RICK & JORGE: A special thank you to Rick and Jorge!! You guys are AWESOME!!!! Wow, I can't tell you what it meant to me for you guys to fly out in support of me! It made me grin from ear to ear to see you guys in the audience rooting for me!! You have hearts of gold and I am honored to call you my friends. I am blessed to know people like you. Rick- Your soup was to die for, and I also cannot thank you enough or cleaning my car! wow! -That is such an incredibly sweet and thoughtful gesture! I am so thankful for you guys.

BODY TRENDS - Thanks for contacting me and fitting me in during the last week before I left for the pageant! I didn't have much time with you, but it obviously helped since I won the swimsuit award! ;) Thanks to everybody there! (Stacey, Wanda, Amanda, Launshae, Harvey!!!! ...everyone I met was so gracious!) -You guys were so generous to offer free services!

-SOUTHERN CHARM - Anita and Warren, you guys ROCK! -Enough said. I love you both to death! Anita, thanks for showing me your rockin' walking skills! You are a diva, girlfriend!!! Warren - Thank you for the BOMB swimsuit! You are amazing!!! It was killer. No one had anything like mine ;) Also, thank you for the shoes!!

BEHNJI: -Special thanks to Behnji! - WOW. Thank you so much for the mile long emails and inpsiring text messages as I prepared for the big weekend! I couldn't have done it without you! It was obvious you took so much time out of your day to share your incredible "golden nuggets" of wisdom with me :) ...They clearly all came in handy! I soaked up your advice like a sponge! We did it!!! Love you so much. Thank you for believing in me!!!

LA CASA HERMOSA -Robin and Jordi you guys are so great! Thank you for the incredible custom gown and earrings! It was a stunner under those stage lights!

LARRY- You and Joanne are a killer combo when it comes to hair! I can't thank you both enough. Thank you Larry for believing in me not only as a Miss, but as a Teen as well! You gave me so much confidence and encouragement! Thank you!

CORY - You've been there since the day I won Miss Oklahoma Teen USA four years ago :) ...and we are still incredible friends to this day! Thank you for all of your support! I love ya! -Can't wait to see you in Dallas! ...and I can't wait to make a stop at Sprinkles and get cupcakes! ;)

TAUSH -A special Thanks to Natasha. Taush, when I was a little Teen, getting ready for my very first pageant, you were there to show me the ropes. Thank you for believing in me and even following me to Miss Teen USA in support! You are amazing. Thank you for being there for me during the second time around. The email you sent me before I left was so unbelievably heart warming and impacting. You are beautiful inside and out, I love you!!

OTHER SUPPORTERS: Also, a huge thanks to all of the constant supporters I have received and continue to receive from! - Larry, Debbie, Craig, Angela, Lily, Regula, Melissa, Michael, and Elin... you guys are the best!!!!

CONTESTANTS: To all of the women who competed in the Miss Oklahoma USA and Miss Oklahoma Teen USA Pageant! - Every single one of you are beautiful inside and out. Thank you for making this experience even more special! - A special shout out to My favorite teens, chorus buddies, and dressing room buddies - Carly and Rachel!!! :) Love you girls to death!! ...and Miss Kandis - Congrats my darling! We are going to have the BEST year together ;)

TEENS: -Special thanks to the Teens at Miss Oklahoma Teen USA - Wow!!! Thank you SO MUCH for voting for me for the MENTOR AWARD! -That award meant more to me than the Miss Oklahoma USA crown. I was HONORED to be seen as a role model and friend. If any of you ever need ANYTHING, please let me know! Love you beautiful young women!!!!

JUDGES -Also, a thank you to my judges. Thank you for seeing something special in me. Thank you for believing that I have something to offer the Miss Universe Organization and for believing that I could be a contender at Miss USA. THANK YOU for giving me this opportunity to shine and make the state of Oklahoma proud in April! I am so humbled. THANK YOU!!

FRIENDS -Lastly, a huge thanks to my friends!!!! There are so many of you but I am so incredibly thankful and blessed to know all of you! You are truly a blessing! I cannot say thank you enough!

There are tons more but I just wanted to get this out there now... If I forgot you, let me know so I can add you.

I love everyone and am so thankful for the special people God has placed in my life! This is going to be a great year! I can't imagine the wonderful things God has in store for me!

Thank you EVERYONE!!!! GOD BLESS!!!!

-Morgan Woolard
Miss Oklahoma USA 2010