I have almost zero interest in beauty pageants, but I’m already rooting for Miss Kansas in the upcoming Miss America pageant. Theresa Vail, who’s representing the Sunflower State, is an avid bowhunter and according to this story was apparently bummed when she was told her first choice for the talent competition–archery–just wasn’t going to work. So Vail did what virtually no bowhunter, male or female, has ever done…learned an operatic aria in 48 hours. And she nailed it well enough to claim the Miss Kansas crown.
Vail’s non-beauty queen qualities extend beyond the deer woods. She’s an Army sergeant (only the second active-duty contestant in pageant history), an M16 marksman, and a mechanic. And don’t mistake Vail for one of those pageant brats who make vying for tiaras their life’s pursuit. She hopped in her first pageant less than a year ago, and only because her commanding officer advised her to.
Oh, and she’s got tats. The U.S. Army Dental Corps insignia on her right shoulder, and The Serenity Prayer, which is inked on her right side and impossible to hide during the swimsuit competition.
It’s no secret that the ranks of women hunters have been sky-rocketing in recent years. In fact, a 2008 study in Wisconsin showed that one of the few deer hunting groups showing any growth was the female-under-30 demographic. Every once in awhile, I still run into idiots who resent stats like this and feel that women have no place in the woods. Maybe such men need to watch Sgt. Vail on the Miss America stage, and then explain to the rest of us the reason for their prejudice.
As for me, I haven’t watched the Miss America pageant since I was kid, but I’d tune in for this one, just to watch Theresa Vail kick butt, take names, and, of course, sing. Though I sure wish they’d have let her shoot her dang bow.