Tonight was a blur... I felt at ease throughout the competition and knew that I needed to continue to be myself and trust in the Lord. As the top 12 were announced, I began to hear the names of many of friends announced, and while I was so happy for them, nervous tension grew inside of me... Finally, there was one name left and I closed my eyes, preparing myself to throw on that big happy smile when and if my name wasnt called when finally I heard... "Miss Yosemite Valley" whew! I was in! From there I surprisingly managed to stay very calm (much different from last year when I couldn't stop shaking!). Jenna Harvey (who became the first runner up!) and I shared a wonderful dressing room and we even had time to spare getting ready!
After competing in swimsuit, talent, and evening wear, the top 12 became the top five, comprised of myself, Jenna Harvey, Megan Lyne, Noelle Freeman and Brittney Henry. At the end of the night, when it was down to Jenna and I, I squeezed her hand as hard as I possibly could and when I heard her name called as first runnner up, I stood there in disbelief.
I always felt that it was so silly when girls cried when they won the title, but I now understand the overwhelming emotion that prompts those tears. And let me tell you, once you those tears start, it is hard to stop them! After that I was taken off to do two TV interviews and then was escorted into the gala by my dad. What an incredible night.
The next day, I woke up foggy eyed and still in shock and ran over to the desk and looked inside the crown box... yup... it was still there... "I guess it really happened" I told myself... That day, I had a meeting with the whole team of people that will help in preparation for Miss America and throughout my year as Miss California. In attendance were my parents, Bob, Chelle (business manager), Nikki (wardrobe), the Baldwins (my host family), Donna (my local field director), Linda (my local ED), and Bill Bertram. They explained to me the particulars of the job I was about the take and talked to me about the upcoming year.
That night I had the chance to do some shopping and go to a nice celebratory dinner with my parents and then went back to the Radisson. The next morning I went with Bob to the Rotary meeting and then Chelle and I headed to her house to start on Miss America paperwork! During the four hour ride home, Chelle made me laugh so hard I almost cried entertaining me with Miss America and Miss California stories. We even treated ourselves to In-n-Out on the way home! We were very happy girls!
After I finished my paperwork, I went home for a few days and then moved into the lovely home of the Baldwins! For the first time in my life, I have my own bathroom! They are so gracious to host me and I also inherited three dogs (Jack, Jill and Bruiser) and a cat!
This is the start of journey that I never imagined I would get to go on... I know it will be a year of hard work, exciting appearances, and lots of traveling. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I can't wait to represent California this year!