Miss America 2022 June Travel Recap
The last month has been a whirlwind – I traveled over 21,000 miles! Here’s what I’ve been up to:
At the end of May I headed home to Alaska for about a week before the bulk of my travel started.
As I prepared to leave for Orlando, Florida, for the Special Olympics USA Games, I interviewed with KTUU, one of our local news stations in Alaska. Check out the interview here: KTUU Interview.
I also did a written interview with The Newsette regarding Special Olympics: The Newsette Interview.
I traveled to Orlando, Florida, and spent about 5 days at the Special Olympics USA Games. I have always wanted to attend the USA Games but never had the opportunity to until now, and I had such a wonderful time! I got to walk out with the Alaska delegation during the opening ceremonies which meant a lot to me especially because Special Olympics Alaska sent its largest delegation in history with 70 athletes and coaches! During the opening ceremonies, I met athletes from all over the country and I even met Timothy Shriver, son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver (founder of Special Olympics) and chairman of the Special Olympics!
The rest of my time spent at the Special Olympics USA Games was wonderful. I watched a variety of different sports, met athletes and coaches, thanked many sponsors, and even participated in the ESPN Executive challenge with Special Olympics athletes and corporate partners! My team did pretty well, and we all got medals!
I have been looking forward to attending the Special Olympics USA Games since my year as Miss America began, and I know that this will go down as one of my favorite events as Miss America. Thank you to the CocaCola Company for making my trip possible!
Salt Lake City, Utah
I flew directly from the Special Olympics games in Florida to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the Miss Utah competition. A delay in Florida left me stranded in the Orlando airport for 7 hours, but I managed to make it to Utah just in time for the first night of preliminary competition. When I made it down to my dressing room, I was delightfully surprised to see so many thoughtful gifts from the candidates and many Miss Utah sponsors! I was blown away by the display of kindness and felt right at home during my first trip to Utah. I was also grateful for the generosity of Ypsilon Dresses in Utah who provided my entire wardrobe for my time at Miss Utah. Seriously, if you ever get the chance to work with Ypsilon, take it! They were so delightful and made me feel like a true queen all week; I wish I could wear their dresses every day for the rest of my life!
Though my time in Utah was short (I only spent about 3 days there), I had an incredible time. Each and every candidate who competed for the Miss Utah title was outstanding, and I was thoroughly impressed. Thank you to Raychellene and Dexonna for being such awesome tour managers for the weekend and for making my job so easy! Thank you to the Miss Utah Organization for bringing me to my first Miss America state competition and for making it so memorable. I will always remember my first visit to Utah with fondness! I even tried Swig and some fun soda combinations like a true Utahn!
I went straight home to Alaska after Miss Utah, just in time for Miss Alaska. At that point, we had 16 candidates in the Miss America 2022 class, and I was looking forward to adding a new Miss Alaska to the group! It is so exciting to see our quickly-growing class of 2022 experience the beginning of their Miss America journeys! I certainly remember how excited I was.
Because Alaska has a smaller program, our teen and miss competitions are held simultaneously with the entire competition occurring on a single night (rather than having preliminaries on separate nights). Being back on the Miss Alaska stage brought back so many memories for me. I also enjoyed meeting our Miss Alaska Gold Nugget princesses. Alaska’s princess program started in 2007 and, thanks to our dedicated volunteers, it has grown into a wonderful introduction into the Miss America program. I loved being able to help crown these sweet Nuggets.
I had the privilege of emceeing the Miss Alaska competition alongside Miss Alaska 2017 Angelina Klapperich! Angelina was Miss Alaska when I was Miss Alaska’s Outstanding Teen. I remember looking up to her and the example she set as Miss Alaska. It was certainly a full circle moment to return to the stage to emcee with her. The competition was great, and I enjoyed getting to know all of our teen and miss candidates who represented themselves beautifully. I also enjoyed getting to welcome a new Miss Alaska’s Outstanding Teen and Miss Alaska to the sisterhood!
The same night Miss Alaska was crowned I hurried home to finish packing my bags and headed to the airport at 4 am to fly to Minneapolis. I landed in Minnesota and met Theresa, my tour manager, at the airport at about 3:30pm and realized that I had time to make it to the Miss Minnesota competition that evening! I wasn’t officially booked as Miss America, so I ended up going incognito so I could at least see Elle Mark, the outgoing Miss Minnesota. It just happened to be that Kaitlin O’Neill, Miss South Dakota 2021, was headed to the competition and driving through the area I was staying in, so she picked me up and we quickly got ready. I got to give Elle a big hug and congratulate her on her year before the competition began, and the Miss Minnesota folks were kind enough to give me a ticket to watch. I was thoroughly impressed by the candidates, especially during their onstage interviews! It was especially neat to see my Miss America sisters virtually delivering the on-stage questions for the top 5. It just so happened to be that the winner of Miss Minnesota 2022 was Miss Winona 2021, who I would be seeing the next day!
The next morning, Theresa and I left Minneapolis bright and early and began the trip to Winona (it was only a couple hours). When we got there, we checked into our hotel and headed to rehearsals. I did a mic check for my song (I sang “Show Off” from The Drowsy Chaperone) and talked with the Miss Winona candidates. For quite a few of them, it was their first time competing! Later that evening, I had dinner with the Miss Winona Organization members, judges, and the new Miss Minnesota. It was heartwarming to see how proud the Miss Winona folks were of Rachel on winning Miss Minnesota, and they are thrilled to come cheer her on at Miss America. The competition itself was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed taking part in interviews onstage with the emcees and performing. The new Miss Winona, Mikaela Mohr, is delightful and I am excited for her year of service! At the afterparty, I ate some great food and enjoyed mingling with the crowd, signing program books and taking pictures.
*I have mentioned this before, but I have HORRIBLE handwriting. I felt bad leaving my chicken scratch signature on program books!*
Thank you to the Miss Winona Organization for inviting me to your 76th annual competition!
Our final morning in Minnesota consisted of the annual Steamboat Days Parade in Winona! I had the privilege of being the Grand Marshal of the parade, and I was shocked at how many people came out to watch. Before the parade, I participated in a lovely breakfast with all of the parade volunteers and visiting royalty, including the newly crowned Miss Minnesota and Miss Winona. I know how much work goes into putting a parade together, so thank you to all who worked so hard and thank you for inviting me!
After my Minnesota visit, I headed back to my apartment in Arizona for a few days before attending Miss Arizona welcome events. I had been away for a month at that point and was in dire need of a suitcase swap (changing out the clothes I travel with). I got back to Arizona on Father’s Day and FaceTimed with my family to see my dad open his gifts. One of those gifts was a big bag of pineapple Dole Whip mix we found on Amazon and as a Disney fan, he was pretty excited (I mostly got it for him because I wanted to make it for myself, hehee).
I had the opportunity to meet many of the Miss Arizona and Miss Arizona’s Outstanding Teen candidates earlier in the year, so I was looking forward to seeing them again! The competition venue wasn’t far from my apartment, so Amber Barto, the outgoing Miss Arizona, picked me up and we headed to the welcome festivities! Amber is one of the gals from my class that I’ve seen the most this year, mainly because we live pretty close to each other. It was great to see her again!
The welcome events were so much fun, and I met so many fellow Arizona State students! I also happened to meet multiple Emmas within the few hours I was there, which was hilarious to me. One of those Emmas was a young girl in the princess program and I think I accidentally scared her with how excited I was to meet another Emma! She definitely thought I was a little bit crazy….
While I was doing my meet and greets, I felt my nose starting to run and I figured I had the sniffles. But lo and behold, I had a BLOODY NOSE. Luckily I had gotten through everybody in line so I awkwardly scooted away to the bathroom. Former Miss Arizona, Nicole Flesner, was with me managing the meet and greet line and did a great job handling things while I waited for my nose to stop bleeding. I was supposed to give a short welcome speech for the candidates and families and my nose hadn’t stopped bleeding yet, so I ended up just coming out with toilet paper stuffed up my nostril. Thankfully, my nose stopped bleeding just in time for me to speak. Overall, I had a great time despite it being so short. I wasn’t able to stay for the actual competition because I had to head home for the Special Olympics Alaska state games, but Marcelle (Miss America’s Outstanding Teen) took over and was present through the finals.
The morning after the Miss Arizona welcome events, I flew to Alaska for the Special Olympics Alaska State Summer Games. Thank you to Alaska Airlines for sponsoring my flight to and from Alaska; they are huge supporters of Special Olympics!
The Summer Games ran for about 3 days from opening to closing ceremonies. I was there all day each day helping to set up where needed, helping to run social media for Special Olympics AK (they were short staffed), cheering for athletes, helping with awards ceremonies, and assisting with tear down. I also did an interview with my brother Brendan with Alaska’s News Source:
This was the first time Special Olympics Alaska has been able to hold in-person state games since the start of the pandemic, so it was awesome to see so many old friends and get back to doing what we love.
During my short trip to Alaska, I also got to attend the Korea-Alaska Friendship Day hosted by the Korean American Community of Anchorage. This event was one of the first events I attended after I won Miss Alaska last summer, so I was excited to return as Miss America. Our new Miss Alaska, Jessica Reisinger, also happens to be Korean American, and she attended the event with me. We both delivered short speeches and I was called up to sing the national anthem a few minutes before the ceremony started, as their singer canceled at the last minute! My grandparents were able to attend this event with me, and I was thrilled to see how excited they were to introduce me to their friends. My grandfather was actually the president of the Korean American Community of Anchorage back in the day and I know he is proud of all of the work they’ve accomplished since.
That concludes the review of my travels from the last month. I write this from my hotel room in Washington, D.C. as I prepare my speech for an event tonight. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for my next update!
Emma Broyles is Miss America 2022