TCU student leaves for Miss America

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    Competing at the Miss Missouri Pageant started off as an item on Shelby Ringdahl’s bucket list. Today, she is flying to Atlantic City, N.J. as the representative for The Show-Me State in the Miss America Pageant.

    The senior musical theatre major won the state pageant in June and said she had 90 days to prepare for the national competition.

    “It’s been complete chaos, but it’s organized chaos,” Ringdahl said.

    Ringdahl said she has made trips to Arkansas, Oklahoma, and all over Missouri to shop for dresses, meet with sponsors, and work with talent and walking coaches.

    “I wanted to be as busy as possible so I had a lot of appearances scheduled,” Ringdahl said. “But I also had to kind of find a balancing act of being Miss Missouri, and then also getting in my two hours of cardio a day and my mock interviews.”

    The Miss America Pageant was held in January in Las Vegas for the last seven years, but the competition is moving back to its birthplace in Atlantic City this September, giving Ringdahl less time than her predecessor to prepare.

    “I feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day for you to get your whole workout in and also sleep, make appearances, respond to emails and all these things that you have to do in one day,” Ringdahl said.

    For the talent portion, Ringdahl said she will be singing “Defying Gravity” from the musical “Wicked.”

    One of the preliminary competition judges, Karl Jurman, is the musical director for “The Lion King” on Broadway. Ringdahl said, “Even if nothing happens, at least I’m singing for someone on Broadway.”

    Ringdahl said she hopes to make the top 15 during the live telecast at 8 p.m. Sept. 15 on ABC. She said the TCU community can help her achieve this goal by participating in the online voting contest.

    Even though Miss America will only be Ringdahl’s fifth pageant to compete in, she said she feels prepared for the competition.

    “I’m ready. My wardrobe is everything I could have wanted,” Ringdahl said. “I feel great about my talent. I feel great about swimsuit and interview. I’m just ready to be there.”

    Ringdahl has already completed one item on her bucket list, and in two weeks, she may be able to check off another: Miss America.

    Reporter Kendall Morris was Miss Texas 2011 and competed in the 2012 Miss America Pageant.