Winning The Crown

It was the last few minutes of the pageant, names were being called from the top 10, announcing 4th runner up…3rd runner up…I’m nearly on the verge of hyperventilating, in disbelief that my name hadn’t been called yet. Then it happened, the moment that is now a blur. “And the new Miss Kansas 2013 is……contestant number 12! Theresa Vail!!”
This is the moment that my life will have changed forever.

Many of you that have been following me and the news know everything there is to know about my surface. So for this post, I would really like to share my experiences and thoughts on the actual pageant week.

Before I met all the women that I competed against, I held many preconceived notions about the types of girls that do this sort of thing. I was told to watch my back, lock up my clothes and heels, and not to trust anyone. Boy, was I blown away by the truth.

The 24 women that I had the pleasure of competing with are the most selfless and sweet women that I have had the honor of getting to know. I went there with my guard up, and left with my vulnerabilities in the air. I would not have won without the support of my fellow contestants.

For the same reason I love the military, I love the pageant system. It is a sisterhood, an unbreakable bond. Every assumption I held against these women were abolished the minute I got to know each and every single one of them. I am ashamed to say I held these judgements to begin with.

I spent a week with these women, and I have already made life-long friends. I connect with each of them in different ways, each having their own unique and special characteristics.

There was not one moment that I felt like I was being judged. It touched my heart when they came to me for advice, when my roommate and I had late-

night heart-to-heart talks, when all the girls tried helping me on my less than desirable dance moves. They accepted me for my flaws and imperfections.

If like me, you hold/held judgements against pageant girls, I ask that you reserve those judgements until after you meet one. They will change your life forever.


To the Miss Kansas Class of 2013, I thank you and I love you.

Remember that you can go to my “SHOP” link and purchase a custom Miss Outdoor Girl t-shirt. ALL proceeds go towards supporting the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the national platform for Miss America.

-Your Miss Outdoor Girl

My Christmas Day…

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your Christmas day was as enjoyable and rewarding as mine. My day began at 5:30 in the morning, tip-toeing around the house as I put on layers of thick hunting gear, preparing for the bitterness of 4 degree weather. Mom is already up, dancing around in the kitchen and working her magic with food. Dad comes into the living room with just as many layers on as myself. It seems like the perfect Christmas morning.


Dad and I getting ready for the hunt!

                      Dad and I getting ready for the hunt!

With as many hours I spent in the woods yesterday, it gave me some time to think. My family had gone to the midnight church service for Christmas mass and the words from the Lord’s prayer resounded through my mind; “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” As I was sitting in the midst of God’s creation, the peacefulness of the woods, this is all I could think about.

Every Sunday I say these words but not until this moment did I think about the depth of them. How can we ask for forgiveness if we ourselves cannot forgive those who have wronged us? Every night I ask God to make me more Christ-like, to make me a better Christian, and to forgive me for my transgressions. And yet, I can’t forgive someone who has hurt me? How hypocritical is that?

I'm a ninja! A very cold ninja...

                           I’m a ninja! A very cold ninja…

As the hours in the woods passed (and as the numbness in my toes grew increasing worse), I dwelt on that thought. I had held onto the pain and hurt that someone had caused me for nearly a year now. This led me to think about the meaning of Christmas. Christ was born so that he could die for the forgiveness of our sins.

And so, in the spirit of Christmas, I let go of my hurt—and I forgave. It was like a heavy weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I could breathe again. Now, make no mistake. Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiving makes you strong, forgetting makes you weak. Ignorance is not bliss, people.

In this Christmas season, take the time to forgive people who have hurt you. And, ask for forgiveness from those you have hurt. You would be surprised by how weightless you feel afterward.

It was as though God recognized the strength it took for me to forgive this person, because just moments later I was blessed to have 3 bucks walk out in front of me! They were all small, maybe a year old, so I didn’t shoot. It was such a gift to see these beautiful creatures in front of me. This is the one place where the world seems perfect. In today’s world, where shootings are occurring on a weekly basis, it’s nice to escape to the woods where none of that exists.

Thank God for everything you have been fortunate enough to have. Friends, family, everything. I wish you all a Merry Christmas season! Stay safe and keep checking back for new posts!

-Your Miss Outdoor Girl…