In 2007, Shelly Loose was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Michigan, and competed in the national Ms. Wheelchair America pageant where her life was changed forever. Shelly went into the pageant with her mind set on winning, and even though she didn’t leave with the crown, she did meet contestants who became some of her best friends. A decade later, Shelly is the President of Ms. Wheelchair America and she is working towards expanding the pageant to include representatives from all 50 states.
In addition to being President of Ms. Wheelchair America, Shelly is also the state coordinator for Michigan. There are currently 28 states in the US that have annual pageants, but that doesn’t rule out anyone from the remaining states from competing. Independent delegates are able to write an essay explaining their platform for states that do not have an official pageant. The national board reads these submissions and crowns one of the girls as Ms. Wheelchair for their state, and they are invited to participate in the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant. The independent delegate that is selected becomes the state coordinator for the next year and is in charge of organizing and coordinating their state’s pageant moving forward.
With the 50th anniversary of Ms. Wheelchair America only a few years away, Shelly’s goal is to have a delegate from all 50 states by 2021. Each state pageant is different, giving organizers a chance to meet the needs of their contestants. One thing that is consistent, is that all of the women competing have the drive and determination to raise awareness and make a difference for everyone using a wheelchair. The only requirement to enter into the pageant is that participants must be women over the age of 21.
The 2018 Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant will take place in Grand Rapids, MI from July 30th to August 5th. Contestants will stay at the elegant Amway Grand Plaza hotel located downtown, and will attend several events, workshops and dinners throughout the week.
If you are interested in becoming a contestant, feel free to email Shelly directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the pageant’s website at www.mswheelchairamerica.org. There are still opening for independent delegates from the following states to compete in the 2018 Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant:
District of Columbia