Journey to the Crown: It's Showtime! Behind the Scenes at the Miss America Pageant

By Kaitlin Gates on January 07, 2013 from Journey to the Crown via

As I write this, I think back to my crowning as Miss West Virginia in June and how quickly the time has passed since then. I can’t believe January is here and I am about to embark on one of the biggest and most exciting journeys of my life.

Many thoughts are going through my head right now. I am excited, a little anxious, unsure of what exactly to expect, and most importantly, ready to show the judges that I am ready to be Miss America.  The 10 days I am in Las Vegas will be draining mentally and emotionally, but I know that time will also pass quickly, so I need to embrace each and every moment of this incredible opportunity. 

I often can’t quite put my finger on why I love competing. Sometimes, I wish I had chosen a different hobby in which results were black and white. Pageantry is so subjective! A swimmer never has to be concerned about a judge liking them or thinking they are the best contestant, they know their fate lies with the times. At the end of the day, the fastest person wins, no questions asked.  I wish I could say the same for myself, but I cannot. Fifty-three gorgeous, intelligent, talented, and very qualified women are competing for one crown and the decision is left to seven strangers who judge your every move? Seems silly, but that’s the nature of the beast and I love it. 

I feel it is important I explain what exactly I will be doing in the pageant and how the scoring system works. The areas of competition are as follows: 

Preliminary Competition Scoring 

(First three nights of competition to determine the top 14 contestants; all 53 girls compete)

* Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit - 15%
* Evening Wear - 20%
* Talent - 35%
* Private Interview - 25%
* On-Stage Question – 5%

Final Night Scoring:  (ONLY semi-finalists compete)

* Composite Score - 30% (carried over from preliminaries)
* Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit - 20%
* Evening Wear - 20%
* Talent - 30%  
* On-Stage Question

Final Ballot – Each judge ranks the Top 5 contestants in the order he/she believes they should each finish.  The outcome of the pageant is based solely on the point totals resulting from the final ballot. Therefore, the contestant with the highest score does not always win.
I am going into Las Vegas with a positive attitude knowing God has a plan for my. In my heart, I know I am Miss West Virginia 2012 for a reason and I have a place on that stage for a reason. A friend told me this week life is often lived looking forward, but truly understood looking backward and that statement couldn’t be more accurate.  I may not know the outcome of the pageant now, or why the results will be the way they are, but I am confident that either way it will all make sense to me at some point in my life.

Please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers!  I will be tweeting and updating Facebook from Las Vegas, so be sure to follow my journey. Also, “like” the Miss America Organization page on Facebook for coverage of pageant week and pictures! I appreciate the support I have been shown and am so humbled knowing so many believe in my dream. 

If anyone would like to send me a card or words of encouragement, please DO NOT send cards to The Planet Hollywood. The following address can be used: Kaitlin Gates, 129 Hickory Ridge Road, Morgantown, WV 26508 and anything mailed will be hand-delivered to me in Las Vegas.

DON’T FORGET you can still vote for me until January 10, so keep spreading the word!

Be sure to tune in to ABC on January 12 at 9pm to watch the live telecast of the pageant! 

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