|Tawni Bigelow performs her talent.|
Miss Emery County, Tawni Bigelow experienced a whirlwind week of activities and fun at the Miss Utah Scholarship pageant. The contestants arrived at the Radisson Inn on June 12 and after checking into their hotels they visited with the press. A fireside was held that evening featuring former Miss America Sharlene Wells Hawks. Rehearsals began fast and furious on Monday morning. They rehearsed their production number and after they finished they were treated to dinner by one of the pageant sponsors, Sierra West Jewelers.
"We all had dinner together in this jewelry store, it was pretty crowded but it was a lot of fun. This is a fun and different experience for me. I haven't been around this many girls since we went to state basketball. I've mostly been involved in sports in my life so being in a pageant is a little different for me. I love my roommate, she is just amazing she is Betsy Passmore and she is a champion dancer with the BYU ballroom dance team.
"I've spent the last year in personal preparation. I've spent a lot of time preparing for the interview competition and staying up to date on politics and current events. I'm not a big shopper, but we've had to spend time shopping for an evening gown, talent gown and casual wear outfits. They really want us to look nice up here everywhere we go, no pajama pants. We have evening gown practice and swim wear practice. We also practice with our Little Miss who escorts us on stage during the evening wear competition. My niece Shelby Roundy is my escort. They get to wear a crown and a white dress. They also eat lunch with us the day of our evening wear competition. My sister Whitney has been helping me with my singing. I am singing, "Have you ever been in love," for my talent. We are also performing our talents at the mall.
"The girls here are so friendly and outgoing. They are just way cute girls. I have a lot in common with my roommate Betsy. We have both played a lot of sports. The current Miss America played baseball when she was young too. The girls here are very well rounded with a lot of different interests.
|Tonya Bigelow, Tawni Bigelow and Shaun Bayles at the Miss Utah competition.|
"My platform is the need for blood donations. I have organized blood drives in Green River and we are working on one for the west end of the county. When I first started organizing blood drives I was only 17 and wasn't old enough to donate blood. We have had six blood drives now in Green River. I became interested in blood donations because of my mom. She can't absorb enough iron to produce blood. When they first checked her, she only had half the amount of blood a person needs. They gave her three pints of blood immediately. Only 5 percent of people qualified to donate blood do so. I think if a lot more people knew about it, they would donate blood, if they knew the importance. We try to make it as easy as possible for people to donate blood. We hold the blood drives in the gym or cafeteria at Green River High.
"During my year as Miss Emery, I helped with the Emery County Fair and other activities. We rode in the Heritage Days, Fair Days and Elmo Days parades. Elmo is even smaller than Green River. I judged the Little Miss Peach Days pageant and that was hard. Everyone was so good and I wanted everyone to be happy and win. Judging pageants is really difficult.
"This year I have learned to present myself more confidently. I have moved out of my comfort zone and I have tried to be more personable and outgoing. I have tried to approach people first to get to know them. I would encourage girls to try out for pageants, it is a real confidence booster. It's such a good experience, it's not about winning, but just in the preparation work. The interview skills we learn will help us with job interviews in the future. Getting up in front of people and showing your talents is important. I have become more used to singing in front of people now.
"You just need to do your best, and it doesn't matter what people think. I have a passion for singing and have worked hard to learn to sing. Singing is a stress reliever and helps me relax. When I need to relax, I just listen to music. It brings me back to who I am. I belonged to a music group at Snow. I am going to attend Utah State in Logan on an academic scholarship. I am going to be a math teacher. I hope to teach in a smaller school, where you can be more involved with your students and give them personal attention.
"It would be neat to teach in Green River, but I don't think I'm old enough, some of the teachers there, taught my parents," said Bigelow. During Miss Utah week, the contestants performed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. A gala for all parents and contestants was held on Friday night. The competition concluded on Saturday with the crowning of the new Miss Utah 2005, Julia Marie Bachison, Miss Utah State Fair.