By Matt Goodlett
Stacy Skidmore was met with disappointment when running for UNO’s homecoming queen last fall, but her luck changed at a beauty pageant in Norfolk Dec. 7-9. Skidmore entered her first pageant ever and left with the crown and title of Miss Nebraska USA.
“It was so unbelievable,” Skidmore says. “It was exciting even to make it to the top 10 and then it kept on going to the top six and top three. It was just so unexpected that I’d win.”
In fact, it was so unexpected, says Skidmore, that her mother ran out of film during the finals and was unable to get a picture of her as Miss Nebraska USA.
The moment was definitely documented, though.
“The competition was so stressful, then you win and you stand there and it’s two hours of pictures with different people and sponsors,” Skidmore says.
Although she was nervous at the competition, Skidmore says she would do it all over again.
“Everybody was so terrific. I made a lot of friends. The pageants aren’t like you see in the movies. All of us got along really well. If a girl forgot some makeup or something, someone would lend it to them.”
Skidmore did admit to doing something stereotypical of beauty pageant contestants. She said that on her way to Norfolk with fellow UNO students LaRia Shea and Jessica Perea, the three of them got lost and ended up in South Dakota.
“We thought it was taking long. There’s a certain stigma attached to beauty pageants and the intelligence of contestants and we go and get lost. We had a good laugh about it.”
Once in Norfolk, Skidmore began preparation behind the scenes. She says choreography for the dance the 19 contestants participated in lasted until around midnight and resumed at 6 a.m. Between all of their work, the contestants still managed to visit and have lunch at Madison House, a retirement home in Norfolk.
“It’s not something that everyone sees or probably even expects, a bunch of kids spending time with some people who don’t get visited too often,” Skidmore says. “I think everyone enjoyed it.”
The competition itself consisted of three portions: consecutive swimsuit and ballroom gown competitions and an interview process.
“I was nervous about 1,000 people seeing me in a swimsuit,” she says. “The interview questions were also difficult and I had been feeling ill that day. I felt like I was in the sixth grade because my mom had to come down to bring my medicine. We weren’t allowed to leave without an escort, but that’s at any pageant function for security reasons.”
Skidmore received more than just the crown at the pageant. She also walked away with $35,000 in prizes, including 3 scholarships, $15,000 dollars in cosmetic dentistry, $500 in makeup and $500 in costume jewelry. Some advice also followed her crowning. The former Miss Nebraska told Skidmore that she will be in for “a heck of a year.”
Her physical preparation has already begun for the Miss USA 2002 competition that will take place on March 1 in Gary, Ind.
“It’s excruciating,” she says. “I won a personal trainer and he e-mails me workouts from Oklahoma. I usually spend about an hour and a half in the gym either doing cardio or light lifting.”
She will leave for the Miss USA 2002 competition Feb. 13 and spend nearly two and a half weeks doing dance preparation and photo shoots and attending many formal events, including a charity auction. She will also attend women’s leadership conferences and various leisure activities during that time. When she gets back, she will not be relaxing.
“I’ll be speaking at schools and a lot of things like that. I also want to do public speaking for breast cancer research. My mom has breast cancer. She went into remission in October, but it’s still something that’s important to me. I want to use my publicity to help people like my mom.”
She’ll start by raising $2,000 dollars to participate in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day, an event that takes place in Washington, D.C., and will cover 60 miles and last three days.
Skidmore is finishing her bachelor’s degree in management and pursuing a graduate degree.
“I want to become a businesswoman and prove that women can make good business decisions. I also want to stay in Omaha and boost the city that’s given me so much.”
Barb Treadway, head of student programming and events at UNO, was the first to suggest the Miss Nebraska USA pageant to Skidmore following her run for homecoming queen. Skidmore says she hopes more women from UNO will participate in the pageant next year.
Skidmore’s schedule has already earned her a spot at the Omaha Bridal Show on Sunday at the Holiday Inn at 72nd & Grover. The Miss USA pageant will be featured on CBS March 1.
For information on entering the Miss Nebraska USA pageant, contact VanBros and Associates, Inc. at VanBros.com or by calling (912) 248-8300.