WOODS CROSS -- Vera Ivie wondered who the beautiful women were walking around with beauty pageant banners during a conference on aging she was attending last year.
When she inquired, the women told her they were representing the Ms. Utah Senior America Pageant and invited her to become a contestant.
"At first I declined, but then I thought it might be fun so I decided to run this year," Ivie said.
The first thing she had to do was come up with a philosophy of life statement. That wasn't hard. Ivie is a motivational speaker who thrives on helping others think more positively about themselves. Her philosophy to women is to be a queen in your own cottage.
"To be a queen in your own cottage, you cannot have faith and fear at the same time," Ivie said. "A lot of women start to give up when they turn 50 and by the time they're 60 they're really good at it. They think they're fat, dumb, no good."
Ivie said that attitude needs to change.
"Women need to look at themselves in a more positive way and see all of the things they've accomplished. They need to be proud of it and they must think of themselves as a queen in their own cottage," she said.
The Ms. Utah Senior America Pageant was founded in 1972 by Dr. All Mott, a minister in New Jersey. The pageant is based on the belief that senior citizens are the foundation of America.
"Its purpose is to celebrate the lives of senior women all over the state of Utah," said Janet Seamons, pageant director. "There are no significant prizes other than the title and a few gifts."
The winner will receive a one year membership to the Cameo Club which consists of contestants who have been in the pageant. The club serves fellow seniors by performing for them in retirement homes, community events and service clubs. The winner will also go on to compete in the National Senior America Pageant in Atlantic City, Seamons said.
"So more than a pageant, we are a service organization," Seamons said.
The pageant, which was held at Woods Cross High School, included nine contestants who were judged on a five minute interview, evening gown competition, talent and a philosophy of life statement.
To learn more about the pageant, go to www.senioramerica.org/Utah.htm.
Winners of the Ms. Utah Senior America Pageant:
Queen: Sheryl Lee Wilson of Provo
1st attendant: Kerry Henderson of Midway
2nd attendant: Ruth Stevens of Salt Lake City