EAGLE COUNTY - As one can imagine, competing in the annual Miss Colorado Pageant takes a lot of hard work, dedication and talent.
Kate Manley, our very own Miss Eagle Valley, believes that it is her intense, yet silly personality that will set her apart in the upcoming Miss Colorado competition.
"Pageants can be so much fun," she said. "Being able to relax and enjoy the experience prevents me from over-thinking things and getting too nervous."
Ever since the third grade, Manley has had a set of glow-in-the-dark cups to improve her quirky talent of cup stacking. However, she plans to perform a different talent in the competition to highlight the more sophisticated and refined parts of her personality.
She said that by just looking at her, people do not expect her to have the voice of an opera singer - a talent she believes will set her apart in the pageant.
Manley has had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, as well as the World Cup races.
"Beauty pageants are so much more than just pretty girls in swim suits," she said. "All of the women competing are driven, talented and educated."
If crowned Miss Colorado, one of her goals is to make a difference in education.
She said that an educated society is a productive and successful one.
"I'm hoping to have the opportunity to encourage equal education for all students, regardless of whether you live in the Eagle Valley or Denver," Manley said. "Every student should be given the opportunity to succeed and be eligible for higher education."
Each contestant is required to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network. Although she has reached the requirement, Manley would love to exceed it.
She said she is fortunate to have had such a strong support system and hopes to make her hometown of Eagle Valley proud in the competition.
"My dedication, passion and empathy are all qualities that I think would make me a great Miss Colorado," Manley said. "I think I have the courage to stand up for change and be a role model to all young women with a dream."
Donations are accepted until June 13, by midnight, at www.missamericaforkids.org.
Mary Kelley Zeleskey is an intern at the Vail Daily. She can be reached at 970-777-3120.