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Married Hagerstown mom fulfills lifelong pageant dream

April 04, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

Tiffany Stottlemyer has been practicing her walk and contemplating how much eye contact to make with the judges.

Stottlemyer, 27, of Hagerstown, is competing in her first pageant. She has been named Mrs. Washington County and will compete in the Mrs. Maryland International pageant in Stevensville, Md., on Saturday.

Stottlemyer, who has two children, grew up around the Miss Maryland pageant system. Her mother helped with choreography, and Stottlemyer always wanted to enter a pageant.

Unlike the Miss America system, the Mrs. International system does not have a talent portion. The pageant is community-service based with an emphasis on the competitors' platforms, said Sherry Benson, state director for the Mrs. Maryland pageant.

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This Saturday's 14 competitors will be judged on their off-stage interviews (worth 45 percent of the total score), their onstage interviews about their platforms (5 percent), aerobic wear (25 percent), and evening gown (25 percent), Benson said.

The winner will not receive cash or a scholarship. Pageant organizers will set up appearances around the state for Mrs. Maryland to promote her platform and she will receive prizes and a trip to the national competition, Benson said.

Stottlemyer's platform is volunteerism, particularly through Soroptimist International, a women's service organization. Stottlemyer is co-vice president of the Hagerstown chapter, which raises money for scholarships and whose goal is to empower women through community service.

Stottlemyer, who teaches reading to special education students at South Hagerstown High School, she says she is happy that the Mrs. International system isn't just about beauty. There's no swimsuit competition, and the pageant emphasizes the contestants' platforms.

At a Mrs. competition, the contestants' husbands also are involved. They escort their wives during the evening gown competition and the winner will be crowned by her husband, said Stottlemyer.

Benson said Stottlemyer did not have any competition in being named Mrs. Washington County. There are no preliminary pageants. Stottlemyer was interviewed by Benson in person.

To get a feel for the pageant, Stottlemyer attended the Pennsylvania pageant and already has strategized her onstage interview. Unlike several of the Pennsylvania candidates, Stottlemyer said she will, she hopes, actually answer the moderator's question and not just recite a memorized speech.

If you go ...



WHAT: Mrs. Maryland International and Miss Teen Maryland International pageants

WHEN: Saturday, April 5. Doors open at 7 p.m. Pageant starts at 8 p.m.

WHERE: Kent Island High School, 900 Love Point Road, Stevensville, Md.

COST: $20 at the door

MORE: For more information about the Mrs. International pageant system, go online to www.mrsinternational.com.

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