Kathy Thompson, a Brainerd business owner and mother of two, is trying her luck at capturing the Mrs. Minnesota-America crown.
A first-time pageant contestant, Kathy was inspired by her 18-year-old daughter, Tara, who is a pageant veteran.
"She is my little inspiration. She really wanted me to do this," Kathy said about her daughter who has competed in four pageants.
"I wanted her to experience how great a pageant can be. You make great friends there," Tara said.
Tara thinks her mother has a good chance of winning the Mrs. Minnesota-America pageant.
"She is just a true person. She is very pretty and has a lot of confidence," Tara said.
Kathy was approached by Mrs. Minnesota coordinators at one of Tara's pageants, where they thought she and her daughter were sisters.
At first Kathy was reluctant to display her talents in a pageant because she has never been in one before. When Mrs. Minnesota organizers called her every week to encourage her decision, she started to take their offer seriously.
"I talked it over with my family, and they said go for it, so I did," Kathy said.
The only Mrs. Minnesota pageant requirements are that contestants must be at least 18, married and a resident of Minnesota. Kathy, 38, said most of the 25 women in the pageant are around 30.
"Last year's Mrs. Minnesota was 38 and she made it to the top 10 (in the Mrs. America national competition)," Kathy said.
To prepare for the Mrs. Minnesota pageant, Kathy meets once a week with her pageant coach, Miss Minnesota, in preparation of the personal interview, physical fitness, demonstrated by aerobic wear, and evening gown portions of the pageant.
"I don't know why it's aerobic wear. They must think the Mrs. (pageant contestants) are getting to old for swim suits," Kathy said laughing.
Kathy has also been getting to know the other Mrs. Minnesota contestants by rehearsing dance moves, spending a day at a spa and going to parties together.
Kathy will soon be attending a seminar to prepare for the interview part of the competition. The seminar will teach her how to speak publicly, emphasizing poise and inner beauty.
"I'm getting nervous, but I feel very confident," Kathy said. "My family and friends are supporting me and are going to be there to cheer me on."
The winner of the Mrs. Minnesota-America pageant will go on to the Mrs. America national competition in Honolulu.
Kathy is the owner of Brainerd Garages and the co-owner of Tom's Backhow Service in Brainerd. She describes herself as an avid elk hunter who also enjoys playing softball and horseback riding.
The Mrs. Minnesota-America pageant is June 30 at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. It will be televised July 1 on the Warner Brother's Network, WB23, at 9 p.m.
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