eauty queens from across the state came to Ardmore this weekend to compete in the 2019 Mrs. Oklahoma Pageant.
Executive Producer Tracy Crist said the pageant has previously been held in Guthrie every year, but this year they decided to hold the pageant in Ardmore at the Goddard Center.
“This is such a friendly city,” Crist said. “Everybody has been so nice and supportive, and this venue is just perfect for what we need.”
Crist said the pageant was originally founded in the early 1920s but went defunct in 1972. However, it was resurrected in 1977. Since then, four Mrs. Oklahomas have gone on to be crowned Mrs. America with Michelle Evans winning the title most recently in 2015.
Crist said that in addition to competing in the Mrs. America Pageant, each Mrs. Oklahoma is also asked to make at least one public speaking appearance every month. Some make more appearances than that, but because these women also often have children and careers they may not have the time to do more than that.
“Each winner has a
particular issue that is important to them, and they go to places like schools talking about it,” Crist said. “They all select their own issue and we don’t pick it for them. If they aren’t truly passionate about what they are saying, it comes across as insincere.”
For Ashley Stuart, Mrs. Oklahoma 2018, her issue is distracted driving.
“I’ve lost three friends to distracted driving collisions,” Stuart said. “They were three separate incidents, and they all happened when I was in college. The hardest part about it is they were all 100% preventable.”
She said as a part of her grieving process, she needed to find a way to give these senseless tragedies some kind of purpose.
“I started talking to anyone and everyone I could about not being a distracted driver, especially before we had the law that says you can’t use a handheld device while driving,” Stuart said. “But even though that law is in effect, people are still ignoring it.”
Stuart says when she gives her talks about distracted driving, she gives two major pieces of advice.
“The first thing is always put your phone in do not disturb mode while driving,” Stuart said. “You can even have it set to where your phone realizes you’re driving, so it comes on automatically. The second thing is to add five minutes to every trip. Use them at the very beginning. Get in your car, set the radio and find the music you want to listen to. Get your AC set and have your navigation ready to go before you shift out of park so you’re not trying to do these things while you’re driving.”
Stuart said after her tenure as Mrs. Oklahoma is over, she will continue with her everyday life as a wife and mother while continuing her career at the Oklahoma State Capitol as a legislative assistant to Rep. John Pfeiffer.
“I have one daughter, Lily Pearl,” Stuart said. “She’s two-and-a-half. She’s a little sassafras, but she’s great! I’m incredibly proud to be her mom.”
Another piece of advice Stuart gives is to never give up on your dreams.
“It took me 16 years, but I still accomplished my dream of being a state title holder for the state of Oklahoma,” Stuart said. “If you have a dream you care about, don’t give up. It may take you a long time. It may take you 16 years to get there, but everything is all about timing. It will happen when it’s supposed to happen.”