Cassville woman competing for Miss Missouri
Horner: ‘I just want to show how dedicated I am to my platform’
This is a busy week for Cassville resident Madison Horner, as she is vying for the title of Miss Missouri.
Horner, as 2016 Cassville graduate, is entering her junior year at Missouri State University in Springfield, majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in political science. This is the second time she is involved in the pageant. She competed as a teen contestant in 2017 after winning Teen Miss Texas County. Winning Miss Texas County this year qualified her for the Miss Missouri competition.
“I was crowned [Miss Texas County] in September 2017, and since then I have been promoting my platform,” she said. “I have visited all the schools in the Texas County region for my Hands of Hope project, which aims to create a more inclusive learning environment for students with disabilities and have the students volunteer without really having to go anywhere.
“As a part of the Hands of Hope project, the students create letters and cards I take to the Children’s Miracle Network hospital.”
Horner said it was a family member that inspired her cause.
“My platform, Love for Loren — Support Miracle Children, was inspired by my cousin, Loren, who has Down syndrome,” she said.
Horner and 29 other Miss Missouri contestants, their pageant directors and families travel to Mexico, Mo., on Sunday to kick off a week filled with rehearsals, talent performances, interviews and evening gowns as the Miss Missouri Scholarship Pageant and Miss Missouri’s Outstanding Teen Pageants kick off at Missouri Military Academy (MMA).
The young women are vying for a title, held by current Miss Missouri Jennifer Davis. Last fall, Davis was first runner-up at the Miss America Scholarship Pageant.
In the talent portion of the competition, Horner plans to sing “On My Own” from “Les Misérables.”
“I fell in love with that song five years ago when I heard one of the Miss America contestants sing it,” Horner said. “I wanted to push myself this year, and it’s been fun to see how my voice has grown because I’m doing a song outside of my comfort zone.”
As a member of the Sigma group, Horner will have her interview Wednesday, evening gown and on-stage question Wednesday, talent on Thursday night and swimsuit/lifestyle and fitness on Friday night.
Horner said she, of course, hopes to win, but promoting her platform is the most important thing.
“The big goal is to win, but any placement will be fine with me,” she said. “I just want to show how dedicated I am to my platform and how I look forward to serving the state of Missouri.”
Horner has been involved in pageants since the age of 13, and she said she’s learned a lot about herself in the past few years.
“I’ve really discovered who I am as a person,” she said. “When I started at 13, I didn’t know how to speak to a crowd or class full of students or civic group, or how to do interviews with hard questions being thrown at you. This has really helped me as I head toward my future career in broadcast journalism.”
Horner added her involvement in the pageant has given her an opportunity to speak about the changes within it, namely the scrapping of the swimsuit and evening gown portion of the Miss America competition.
“I am 100 percent in favor of that,” Horner said. “While that portion does challenge us to be physically fit along with being mentally fit, being in a bikini does not affect the quality of the competition because it’s more about how we are movers and shakers in our communities.”
Miss Missouri’s pageant week kicks off on Sunday with the Miss contestants moving into the dorms on the MMA Campus. Besides rehearsals, the titleholders have several receptions and activities throughout the Mexico community including a golf tournament, Kentucky Derby style luncheon and a parade.
Preliminary competitions begin Tuesday with the interview portion of the competition and will continue through Friday evening. The finals are on Saturday night with members of this Miss Missouri class, competing for over $40,000 in scholarships.
This year’s pageant has several announcements. Wednesday and Thursday night, former Miss Missouri Shelby Ringdahl will emcee the pageant. Ringdahl is currently working in various productions in New York City and touring across the country. On Friday and Saturday nights, the stage will feature Landon and Sydnee (Stotlemeyer) Burke. Sydnee is a former Miss Missouri’s Outstanding Teen and Landon works at KOMU Channel 8 News.
Under the musical direction of Bill Wolfe and producer Lorin Lewis, the pageant will provide a live show to those in attendance. In addition, on Saturday night, pageant attendees will be introduced to a Children’s Miracle Network child, Lizzy Metz. After her story is played and she is recognized, the pageant contestants will collect donations for the Network.
The winner of this year’s Miss Missouri Scholarship Pageant will go on to compete at the Miss America pageant, which is held September 5-9 in Atlantic City, N.J.
Tickets for the Miss Missouri and Miss Missouri’s Outstanding Teen Pageants are available through the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce, located at 100 West Jackson Street or by calling 573-581-2765.