Road to the crown: Miss Southeastern Clogger Pageant (PART TWO)

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Interested in trying a clogger pageant? Kaley Conn and Summer Hanson from Clogging Connection (Florida) share the preparation techniques that helped them win crowns at the Miss Southeastern Clogger Pageant

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Both ladies credit Kyle Kirkland, their clogging teammate and pageant coach, as being instrumental to their success. Kyle is the one who convinced these rookie pageant contestants to enter in the first place!

Many of you probably know Kyle as a champion clogger. This man of many talents uses his extensive experience as a theater and dance instructor to help ladies prep for city and state titles within different pageantry systems. 

Kyle's expertise told him that Kaley would be an ideal pageant contestant. "Not only is Kaley a wonderful entertainer, she is a wonderful person with a heart of gold and her love of dance and sharing her talents with her students that she teaches daily is a inspiration to so many around her."

Kaley's mother competed in the Miss American Clogger Pageant, so Kaley decided to carry on the tradition when Kyle suggested the Miss Southeastern Clogger Pageant.

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Once Kaley and Kyle began pageant prep, they felt it would be fun to include another member of their clogging family in the adventure. They settled on 10-year-old Summer Hanson as an excellent candidate to compete in the Junior Miss age division. Summer and her mother were happy to take on this challenge.

Summer and Kaley prepared for the interview category by answering question after question. Kyle quizzed Kaley in the car with at least two interview questions daily. The hard work clearly paid off; Summer described the interview as being easier than she expected!

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For the verbal presentation category, each contestant gets 30-45 seconds to cover a "clogging-related" topic. Kaley discussed the importance of family in her clogging life. Summer chose "why I love clogging" as her topic. She wrote out bullet points and pulled them together to make her speech flow. Both ladies practiced their speeches over and over to get them just right.

Kaley praised a fellow contestant, remarking that her speech about the origins of clogging was "unique and enlightening to people who may not know the history."

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Summer's favorite category at the pageant was talent, where each clogger performs a solo routine. Summer loves dancing, and felt most comfortable with this category. Kyle commented that Summer's routine stood out because it highlighted her clogging skill set and had a baseball theme.

Other pageant preparation included choosing gowns and hairstyles and learning how to do "the walk" across the stage. Kyle especially enjoyed teaching Summer how to walk in her evening gown - they shared a lot of laughs!

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Summer's advice for anyone thinking of trying a clogger pageant is to try not to be nervous. She commented that everyone was very friendly.

Kaley encourages other inexperienced contestants not to be afraid; give it a try! "For me in particular, I enjoyed the whole experience. It was all new to me, and I personally learned a lot about my myself throughout the journey. I would recommend this event to any cloggers!"

Pageant director Danielle Podrazik is passionate about the benefits of these events. She urges interested contestants to  "DO IT! We keep it very laid-back, and I’m here to help you every step of the way. Even if you think you’re not a pageant girl, you will enjoy the try. Pageants are about growth, learning skills and learning about yourself."

Kyle offers words of wisdom to the parents:  "Number one, make sure the contestant wants to do the pageant and it's not just for the parents. It is very time-consuming and takes a lot of preparation and drive to be the best you can be. Don't make your child be someone they are not. Highlight what makes them unique!"

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Kaley and Summer had such a wonderful experience that multiple teammates from Clogging Connection are planning to compete in next year's pageant. 

Of course, EVERYONE wanted to try on the crown... 

I think it looks fabulous on all of you, Kaley's uncle included!

THANK YOU to everyone who provided info and/or photos for this post series, including Danielle, Kyle, Kaley, Summer, Becky (Kaley's mom), Sherri (Summer's mom), Whitney Porter Wang (a former Miss EPIC).

Want to know more?

Beauty and the beats: Miss Southeastern Clogger Pageant (PART ONE)

Visit the Georgia Clogging Association website. New pageant applications are usually ready in August.

You can contact Danielle on Facebook or by email at missgastateclogger@yahoo.com with additional questions.