She may not have achieved the goal of being named Miss Texas 2014, but Miss Hunt County Sterling Bishop is happy with her accomplishments at the state pageant in Richardson that ended Saturday.
Bishop was awarded the prestigious Quality of Life Award, a $1,500 cash scholarship, that is presented to a local titleholder based on her platform and community service throughout her yearlong reign. The presentation of the award was made during the Saturday night finals that were shown on a worldwide webast.
“My ultimate motivator for competing in the Miss Texas competition is to promote as much awareness to the growing issue of child abuse as possible,” Bishop said. “By earning the Quality of Life award, not only was I able to bring light to a dark subject but I am now encouraged to set the bar higher for my future service projects benefiting those organizations that assist children that have been abused.”
Bishop learned she was one of five finalists for the award during the first night of preliminary competition. The five finalists each had a private interview with a panel of five judges — all former Miss Texas titleholders — on Friday morning after the preliminary competition had ended.
The award is named in the memory of the late Miss Texas 1990, Suzanne Lawrence Forsberg, herself a winner of the Quality of Life Award at the Miss America Pageant that year,
While Bishop will not be making speeches at schools or conventions, or making appearances at festivals, fairs or sporting events as Miss Texas will, she believes winning the award is a step in the right direction.
“My entire purpose of wanting to become Miss Texas is so that I may set out on a yearlong journey as the state ambassador to partner up with organizations that act as saviors and heroes for child abuse victims,” she said. “I have prayed endlessly for God to lead me in the right direction with my efforts. Having the Quality of Life award to take home was equivalent to a pat on the back and served as the answer that I needed to know that I am headed on the correct path.”
Only the top five finalists in the pageant received a cash scholarship in a higher amount than the Quality of Life Award recipient.
As for the pageant that saw Miss Park Cities Monique Evans being named Miss Texas 2014, Bishop said she also came away with several fun and fond memories.
“I was able to meet a lot of new contestants and it was really cool how you instantly bond with each other right off the bat,” she added. “We all helped take care of each other and you could truly feel the ‘sisterhood’ effect that the week of the competition created, despite it being a competition. We went nonstop and I was running off of very few hours of sleep, adrenaline and a lot of caffeine each day.”
Despite the fast-pace nature of the week, the county titleholder said she did make the time for some private meditation.
“I made special time each morning to do my devotional and read letters from my family and friends,” she added. “Having that time each day made the biggest difference in my performance level from last year to this year.”
Bishop also acknowleged the time and effort put in the nine-day state pageant by the scores of volunteers, especially the hostesses who were assigned to watch over all of the Miss Texas and Miss Texas Outstanding Teen contestants. For those nine days, the contestants are sequestered on hotel floors with little visitation from their family, friends and local directors.
Bishop said one moment with one particular hostess stands out.
“Kim Boydston (the chair of the MTOT contestant hostesses) came up and hugged me before I went on to perform my tap dance routine,” she added. “I am not sure how she knew, but I needed that hug more than anything else at that particular moment! Moments like that are what made the week so special and memorable.”
As for Evans, a former Miss Hunt County (2012), Bishop said she had the opportunity to visit with her on multiple occasions.
“She truly exudes beauty from the inside out,” Bishop added. “I was beyond excited to see her accomplish her goal of becoming Miss Texas. Her reaction to being named Miss Texas was a pure example of her humbleness and I could not be more honored than to have her represent our state this year.”
Evans received the Miss Texas crown from her predecessor Ivana Hall, who also was Miss Hunt County 2011 and crowned Evans at the county pageant.
Bishop said she wants to keep that trend going.
“I cannot help but to feel that the odds will now be in my favor as I become a ‘Forever’ Miss Hunt County and continue my journey to Miss Texas this next year,” she added.