Miss Wisconsin enjoys softball, pageants and serving others

BY ERIN CROWLEY • of The Northwestern • June 21, 2010

Photo by Jeannette Merten/for The Northwestern.

Playing softball is not the most common way one would think best to prepare for the Miss Wisconsin Scholarship Pageant, but it worked for Kimberly Sawyer.

“I wanted to leave it all out on the stage just like I always said I’d left everything on the field when I played softball,” Sawyer said Sunday, a day after being crowned Miss Wisconsin 2010 at the scholarship pageant at the Alberta Kimball Auditorium in Oshkosh.

Sawyer, an Egg Harbor native, represents the Green Bay Area and is a 2009 graduate of St. Norbert College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance.

As a member of the St. Norbert College softball team and other athletic teams throughout her life, Sawyer said that sports and scholarship pageants have a lot of the same principals including leadership and teamwork.

“I’ve learned so much from sports that have carried over into what I do now and I’m looking forward to sharing that with girls and saying, ‘Hey, you can be a sporty girl and a girly girl at the same time’… I think it’s good to be well-rounded,” she said.

A dedicated volunteer for the Red Cross organization, Sawyer is also looking forward to helping others find their passion for volunteerism across the state.
“I cannot wait to just go out and encourage that and help people find their passion for service like I have with the Red Cross,” Sawyer said.

Another passion for Sawyer is music. In high school, she performed at the statewide solo-ensemble competition and dressed like a renaissance-era queen to sing in the madrigal ensemble.

“So I have a little practice wearing a crown,” she said jokingly.

This passion for music is what initially pushed her into getting involved with the Miss America organization. For her talent, Sawyer sang a classic opera song about a very sad woman.

Photo by Anthony Wahl

“I know (opera) is really technical difficult and it usually resonates with the judges really well especially if you can put a lot of emotion into it,” she said. “So I just tried to pick a song that did have a lot of emotion. For me it was a very sad song so for me that was really hard because I’m not usually a very sad person.”

While Sawyer’s background in sports and music prepared her to compete for the Miss Wisconsin title, there was one moment in the competition that threw her for a loop.

Sawyer’s younger sister, Katie, representing the South Central area of the state, was also competing this weekend. As fate would have it, the two were the last remaining contestants on stage at the end of the night.

“When it was down to the two of us once they called miss Kenosha out as the second-runner up, I said, ‘You have to be kidding me, there is no way,’” she said. “I just held her hands and said, ‘Whatever happens, you know I love you and we’re going to go from here and we’re both winners now.’”

Sitting in the audience was Kimberly and Katie’s father, John Sawyer along with their mother, Jackie.

There wasn’t any worry about how his one daughter would take the news of defeat, John Sawyer said. “We’re a pretty close family and everybody roots for each other,” he said.

Once it registered that Kimberly won, her mind immediately went blank.

“I was in total shock,” Sawyer said. “I felt like it was a dream sequence from a movie so I don’t even really remember a whole lot about what happened I’m looking forward to watching the video and reliving the whole experience.”

Over the next year, Kimberly will take all that she’s learned from her preparation and experience at the Miss Wisconsin pageant as she makes appearances across the state.

“I just want to talk to all those wonderful people (across the state) and show them that Miss Wisconsin is a real down-to-earth girl…and likes to help people and help them help others,” she said.

In January, Kimberly will go on to represent the state at the 2011 Miss America Pageant. While making the top 15 would be a dream come true for her, upholding the values of the organization is what truly matters.

“I want to uphold what the Miss America organization is really about because I truly believe in it and I want to do it for my other contestants too because I am a representative of them now and I want to make them proud so that’s more what I’m hopeful for.”