Blaine pageant rides again

Published on Thu, Jul 18, 2002 by Mikael Kenoyer

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Blaine pageant rides again

By Mikael Kenoyer

The box of jumbled and dusty trophies dumped on her living room floor summed up the state of the Miss Blaine Ambassador Program for Shonna Ryan. Gone were the tiaras she remembered from her pageant days, and the few dresses that survived garage sales had been stored in a barn and were full of dead mice. Ryan, with hopes of organizing a new program, was disappointed but not disheartened.

Miss Congeniality 1994, Ryan returned to Blaine to find that the highly successful program of 20 years had ended with the 1999 departure of former director Shirley Nelson. “I was really sad to see it go,” Ryan said, “I’d like to bring it back.” To have a program of any sort, even limited to a pageant, she will have to start over. Costumes and crowns will need to be purchased, and to participate in parades, floats will have to be restored.

Ryan’s pageant will be nothing like the former program. Nelson came to Blaine with experience with the Miss Minnesota program, and had the full backing of the city. Ryan is on her own. “The Blaine Chamber of Commerce wanted to wash their hands of it,” she said. Ryan plans to ask the Birch Bay chamber to support the pageant, but she said, “I don’t foresee it’s going to need a whole lot of funding. We’re going to be doing a lot of fundraisers.”

Ryan is kept motivated by the positive experience she had with the pageant, and the initial interest she has seen. In a survey of 200 girls grades 9 – 12, 22 expressed interest in becoming contestants, she said.

Ryan hopes to have the pageant back in place by next June, she said. She is considering expanding into an ambassador program for boys and girls in the future, but is concentrating on getting the pageant in motion for now. Those interested in participating or volunteering help fundraising should call Ryan at 325-8211.

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