Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tiaras and Cowboy Boots

On Saturday, August 10th I was honored with the opportunity to be a judge at the Midland County Fair pageant.  I grew up showing animals, crafts and crops in 4-H and greatly enjoyed the experience.  Through 4-H I was able to go on citizen trips to Washington D.C., state exchange trips to Minnesota and Colorado, attend many conferences and meet many new people.  For a small town kid 4-H provided many opportunities I would not of had otherwise.

When asked to judge the pageant, I was more than happy to say yes and help support the organization that gave me such great experiences.  I am actually a pro at judging pageants as I was previously asked to judge the Miss Auburn/Midland pageant representing the Auburn Jaycees back in 2008.

Never in my life would I ever have thought I would get to judge one beauty pageant let alone two!!!  My family kept teasing me and asking if I was going to go professional as a pageant judge.  For those of you that know me, you know this is comical because on most days I am lucky if I am able to blow dry my hair.  Since having the baby my beauty routine has been drastically cut down.  But the pageants aren't about who is the prettiest, or who had the fanciest dress or suit, it's about how well you present yourself and your volunteerism experience.  The children that participated in this event were all very serious about their applications.  One little boy was so focused and determined, he sat up straight in his chair the entire pageant, not slouching once.

While judging the pageant I realized, this is a great way for these young adults to prepare for adulthood and came up with four important things to keep in mind when participating in a pageant:

1. Communication - Many participants were very, very, very nervous.  I am sure they were far from their comfort zone because when I scanned the faces on the participants waiting for the pageant to start the sheer look of horror showed.  I give all the participants credit for stepping out of their comfort zone and being in the pageant.  However, when interviewing for a job if they cannot clearly communicate, they will not be selected for the position.  By participating in the pageant many were in fact participating in their first interview.  After having an interview with 50 spectators watching you, a job interview with one other person would be a cinch.

2. Accountability - The candidates had to answer a question about the information from their application.  They had no idea what would be asked of them, the organizing committee reviewed their applications prior to the pageant and asked them each a specific question.  One person had to explain how to show their animal, another had to further elaborate on a volunteer organization they belong to.  If applicants had exaggerated information on their application it showed, this is a great way to teach children about honestly representing themselves.

3. Self Representation -My mom still pesters me to stand up straight and points out my bad posture.  I now realize how important it is to represent yourself.  Life isn't a beauty pageant, but how you dress and present yourself on a daily basis is important.  When at work, if you show up in pajama pants and a t-shirt now matter how good you are at your job, you are probably going to be passed over for a promotion.  You don't need the fanciest dress to win a pageant, you need to dress appropriately, speak clearly, and remember to not fidget.  Many participants were bobbing up and down on their toes, ruffling the tulle of their dress, staring at their boots (both the girls and boys) and looking nervous.  Remember to stand up straight, dress appropriately, do not fidget and speak with confidence.

4. Losing Gracefully - It is important to learn how to loose.  Not everyone can be the King or Queen of the pageant, but it is important to try and support the person that did win.  Learn from the experience and at the next opportunity try again.  There were 30 children trying for four positions.  By trying and not succeeding it teaches the kids to continue to try for their goals and give them the experience to be better prepared for the next pageant.

Overall it was a great experience and I was very pleased to help out.  The pageant was a great start to the Midland County Fair, and something I would highly recommend for children able to participate.

Find the Midland Daily News story of the pageant