COLUMBIA — Not your stereotypical "pageant girl," Shelby Ringdahl has only competed in four pageants in her life.
One of those was the 43rd Miss Missouri pageant Saturday in Mexico, Mo., which the 2010 Rock Bridge High School graduate won after competing as Miss Springfield.
Ringdahl credits her freshman year vocal professor for nudging her into competing while she attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Because some local pageants in Missouri are open to any resident of the state, she competed for Miss Texas County in 2011 and for Miss Springfield in 2012, and won both.
To be eligible for the Miss Missouri pageant, young women between the ages of 17 and 24 must have won a local pageant in the state, be a high school graduate and reside or attend college or a university full time in the state.
Ringdahl placed second runner-up in the statewide pageant as Miss Texas County in 2012, prompting her to try to qualify again, this time via the Miss Springfield pageant.
"I fell in love with the job aspect of Miss Missouri, so I decided to compete again this year," she said, referencing the opportunity to reach out to communities across the state through appearances, service and performances.
Ringdahl hopes the time management skills she acquired at Rock Bridge will help her prepare for the Miss America Competition on Sept. 15 in Atlantic City, N.J. She was heavily involved in activities, including show choir practice in the mornings and basketball, volleyball and musical practices after school.
"She thrived on being busy," her mother, Erika Ringdahl, said.
"People joked that my car was always in the parking lot," Shelby Ringdahl said.
Ringdahl's platform is "Finding Safety: Helping Abused Children Discover Love Through CASA," (or Court Appointed Special Advocates) which came from her work with the organization through her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.
Her dream job is to perform on Broadway as Miss America, but if that doesn't work out she would like to go into event planning.
"I love being creative and organized," she said. "I would love to coordinate galas and events for charities."
For approximately the next three months she'll be training for the Miss America Competition while serving as Miss Missouri. With all of her responsibilities, she's decided to take a year off from TCU.
"I have to travel, make appearances, workout, do mock interviews, there's a lot of preparation," she said. "It's crunch time."
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