Sparkling crowns sit atop the heads of women as they grace the stage in elegant evening gowns. However, these women are not typical pageant queens. They have lives full of experience, wrinkles and grandkids in the audience cheering them on.
“I’ve got eight kids. One of the queens has nine,” said Janet Seamons, director of Ms. Utah Senior America. “These are women who have raised their families and are still feeling great and have energy and want to share their talents.”
The Ms. Senior America Pageant was started 40 years ago by Al Mott, who noticed the women in his mother’s retirement center were feeling depressed and worthless. Thus began the Ms. Senior America pageant to honor the life of senior women, and it has since spread across the nation.
Kerry Henderson, a contestant in the Ms. Utah Senior America Pageant is from Provo and graduated from BYU with a double major and double minor. She has since poured her heart into piano performance and produced several albums.
“We are women over 60 who are still excited about life,” Seamons said. “We thought we’d be in rocking chairs, but I can out-jog my own daughters. You need to look forward to this age. There is a lot of health and vitality left in us that we want to share.”
“I do think it’s exciting for women to realize that whatever age and stage you are at, you always have something to give,” Henderson said.
Being able to share her passions and talents through music is ultimately why Henderson decided to participate in the pageant. Although people expect to get old and retire, Henderson stressed that life is not over once old age sets in.
“I think that life can be what choices you make,” Henderson said. “You can fill your own bucket and not depend on someone else to do it.”
Jacqueline Krum, from Springville, was one of the audience members enthralled by the passion of the contestants.
“I thought it was amazing,” Krum said. “I think it helps them feel better about themselves and continue to be successful even at an older age.”
Krum, whose favorite part of the show was seeing the contestants’ enthusiasm, said it made her realize there is still time to accomplish her goals.
“I wanted to get up and dance with them,” Krum said. “It gives you encouragement to keep going and pursue your talents and dreams that you want in life.”
For more information, go to senioramerica.org or contact Janet Seamons at .