After a week in Texas judging the Miss Texas Pageant and being wined and dined until my clothes are busting at the seams, I’m not sure if I should start by saying “yes ma’am”; “howdy y’all”; or “you’re so sweet”. The one thing I can offer is a big Texas-sized “Thank you” to all the wonderful people who made my week in Texas magical! Especially the wonderful Tara Watson-Watkins (Miss Texas 2000) and her lovely momma Ann Watson! They were the judges’ hostesses with the mostessess! Tara and Ann immersed me (and the whole panel of judges) into a world where we didn’t lift a finger for a week, other than to write a score on a score sheet, and I didn’t cook a meal (or pay for one) for seven days thanks to the generous Miss Texas volunteers and local restaurants.
As if that wasn’t enough, I was given a “sussie” every night before I returned to my room for a cozy night’s sleep in my king size bed with feather pillows and Shark Week on TV! What is a “sussie” you ask? A sussie is a “Texas” present we received from Tara and Momma Ann every single night. They explained the idea behind a sussie as “when your wife gets fussy, give her a sussie”. To keep the judges from getting fussy they gave us multiple sussies. And I think they are on to something! (I took their lead and purchased a couple sussie’s for my hubby upon my return to Colorado!)
Of all the wining and dining on fabulous food with a great new family of friends, one thing is for certain: I love Texans and I’m thrilled to have had the distinct privilege of selecting our new Miss Texas 2016! I deliberately say “our” as she truly is our Miss Texas no matter where in the country you live. And should you have the honor of meeting Caroline Carothers you will no doubt be charmed by this Texas Rose. She is lovely in every way – intelligent, talented, beautiful, and friendly. Caroline blew me away in her interview as we fired questions at her (from politics to her thoughts on the 2nd Amendment to national security to our educational system to the Syrian refugee crisis to her school programs). She was quick on her feet and intelligent in every response. Caroline proved to us in a mere ten minutes she was not only ready for the job of Miss Texas, but she was already living the job of Miss Texas. All she was missing was the crown and sash!
All the above being said, selecting a winner is not an easy task. We interviewed and judged 52 contestants over the course of six days. Texas is an incredible state with incredible women (intelligent, beautiful, and talented). The competition was fierce and I’m excited to see which other contestants will also where the Miss Texas crown in the years to come! I am confident in this statement as there are many great candidates.
But first, I’m excited to watch Miss Texas 2016 Caroline Carothers compete for the Miss America crown on September 11, 2016 in Atlantic City. I believe she will be a very strong contender. In fact, we may just see another Miss Texas wear the Miss America crown!
I can’t wait!!
P.S. The icing on top of my incredible week… I had the privilege of spending time with my mentor and friend, Bill Anderson, who is also my editor! He drove from Austin to Dallas to work with me during the day as we edited my book! We spent three solid days of editing and laughing. In the evenings Bill sat in the VIP section as he experienced his first pageant! His feedback was fun, but our time working face-to-face was some of the most fun “work” I have had in a long time!