Saturday, December 20, 2008

A few hours ago my phone rang and it was Miss New York. Leigh-Taylor said "In 4 weeks from right now we will be done our Miss America interviews!" ahhhhh!
Wow! Where have the months gone? It feels like just yesterday we had months to prepare. Now...we have weeks!

I am feeling great about it at this point. I have had some great mock interviews and done a lot of work with my fabulous voice coach and trainer. The hardest part about this time of year is saying "no" to all those holiday goodies that come out annually.

Besides mock interviews, walking practice, voice, and personal training, I have enjoyed traveling the state in the last few weeks. The last few weekends have been full of many encounters with Santa Claus, starry eyed children, and Christmas carols. In Saint Johnsbury last weekend (in 5 degree cold!) I spent time outside collecting can food and donations for the Northest Kingdom's local food shelves. The drive brought in thousands of pounds of food for local families in need. It feels great to give especially when we know our goodwill is helping our neighbors.

Last Sunday, I especially enjoyed meeting the heroic families of the Vermont National Guard at their annual Christmas party. The party was complete by Home Depot building workshops for the kids, karate demonstrations, nail painting, hair cutting, grand buffet, and stockings for every child. These men and women deserve nothing less. I was most inpressed by the aray of activities they had planned for all members of the family. It is a good time of year to think about these people and remind ourselves that most times it is the families who make the biggest sacrifices with their loved one away.

Today was a great day too. I was at the Red Clover Salon in Essex Junction at their annual holiday reading. I read local children two Christmas books. First I read an unconventional but wonderful children's tail entitled Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree and of course the Christmas classic The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The holiday's are a great time for togetherness and love and I have never expereinced that more than as my travels as Miss Vermont. However, I am mindfull everyday of the families who are struggling in this difficult economic climate. I have been praying everyday for the families who will not be able to put presents under the tree or even have a warm home to sleep in on Christmas Eve. I hope these families and individuals are in your thoughts as well. Let us all remember to give as much (if not more) than we receive this holiday season. Our local foodshelfs and homeless shelters need food, toiletries, and clothing like never before.

I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season!
Be sure to come to my Miss America Send-off Party on January 4th from 1-3pm at the Hoehl Welcome Center at Saint Michael's College. I hope to see you there.

With Love & Blessings,

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I almost forgot the most important update of all! There is a brand new, Miss Vermont website. Eternity Wed Developmet has spent months designing this new site and they have done a fantastic job. The final product was way beyond my greatest expectations. Check it out! There is a lot to see and with the new appearance calendar it is even easier to keep track of my appearances. Be sure to play the video of my rendition of the National Anthem at the Boston Garden and check out my personal sponsorship page with links to all the men and women who have helped make this year possible for me. THANK YOU ETERNITY WEB DEVELOPMENT!


6 Weeks & 3 Days...but who's counting?

With all of the excitement the holidays bring it is easy to forget that very shortly after Christmas and New Year's, I will be off to Las Vegas for Miss America 2009. I have recently realized an advantage warm states have over cold states, specifically in the swimsuit catergory. Taking today as an example, it is cold (about 25 degrees), grey, and dreary. I am one who cannot stand running on a treadmill and I will have to somehow motivate myself to run out in the cold. brrr...

I am looking forward to the month of December. I have several Right Decisions Right Now appearances and several Christmas themed gatherings to attend. I have really enjoyed my RDRN apperances. I have been amazed at the critical thinking skills some middle and junior school children have. They have been a source of inspiration to me.

I need to update you on an exciting apperance that happened the week before last. Two Monday's ago I was in my second gown fitting, with pins sticking in and out of me, when my cell phone rang and it was an unknown Boston number. I decided to answer despite the pins and am sure glad I did. It was the Boston Celtics informing me of an Anthem singer cancellation they had for the next night's game against the New York Knicks. They were wondering if I could be in Boston 24 hours later. I did some rearranging of a very packed schedule and said "of course!". My mother and father graciously drove me to Boston and escorted me through the evening at the TD Banknorth Garden (which we still, in my family, call... "The Boston Garden"). In true form several of my amazing girlfriends from Saint Michael's College managed tickets and were there just in time to see me perform. (Thanks Tracy, Aimee, Leah, & Jill!) It was a thrill singing at the Garden.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is looking forward to the rest of the holiday season.


Friday, October 24, 2008

updates from the road

My voter registration drive has been very successful! The most rewarding part is I get the feeling that some of the voters I am registering were not going to vote on November 4th. After the conversations we have had...they will!

My most memorable story from the last two weeks however did not come from one of the high school or college campuses I visited. It came from a nursing home I visited last week. I was asked to go to Morrisville and perform for the residents. I sang some of my favorites and some of theirs. After singing, we had a question and answer time. The residents asked me many questions and one asked me about my platform. When I spoke about "Your Vote is Your Voice" and shared with them my travels registering voters I could not help but notice one woman's eyes swell up with tears. After the Q and A session, while I was signing autographs, that very elderly woman with tears in her eyes wheeled her wheelchair over to me, hugged me, and said "I remember when women could not vote. I have cast a ballot every time I could and plan on doing it again November 4th. Thank you for doing what you are doing." I have thought about that woman a lot during my travels this week. Her name was Ruth and I won't forget her.

As great as my travels have been since returning from LA, I am looking forward to having some time to prepare for Miss America. Sometimes I get so caught up in having a presence in the state I forget that in only 95 days I will be on stage at Miss America. As I move forward I pray for patience and guidance to be able to balance being the best Miss Vermont I can be while striving to walk off that Planet Hollywood stage as Miss America 2009.

With Love,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Your Vote is Your Voice

It is hard to believe 5 1/2 months have passed since I was crowned Miss Vermont 2008! What an incredible experience. The people, opportunities, memories, personal, and professional development of these experiences will be with me for a lifetime.

The last three weeks were spent in Los Angeles for the filming of TLC's Countdown to the Crown. There is not much I can say about the show but I can tell you that it will air on TLC in January and that I am grateful for having three weeks to form incredible bonds and friendships with some of this nation's most articulate, talented, and decorated young women.

Now I am back in VT and and it is time to hit the ground not just running but full out sprinting. Tomorrow starts my voter registration drive. There are 21 days until the election and I plan to register as many voters as I can between now and then. Young voters make up 21% of the eligible voting population. That is a political force to recon with! No candidate can ignore the issues young people face today.

Check the "appearance" page of to track my steps. I will visit two high schools and six colleges in ten days registering voters. But my quest towards a more politically active state does not end with voter registration or with 18-29 year olds. I will also be visiting elementary schools to teach younger students about the importance of political action. The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee of the 1960's started with 4 young people hungry for change. The SNCC subsequently coordinated sit-ins, freedom rides, and non-violent marches that shaped a political era. I am excited about bringing this message to younger students because it is important for us all to remember that political involvement does not begin or end by casting a ballot. Voting is one very important tool for participating in this democracy but there are many ways to get your voice heard.

The vision of a few determined women started the movement in Seneca Falls, New york, 1848, that resulted in my right to cast a ballot. When I cast my ballot in November I will cast it remembering the fight of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her sisters in justice.

I hope you will all join me in voting!

All My Best,
Your Miss Vermont

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Before I Go...

This week I have been getting odds and ends together for LA. I am grateful for many altruistic Vermonters for helping me prepare. Foremost, my trainer David Chess. Without David pushing me I would not feel as healthy ad happy as I do. I owe him so much! You're the best David. I also am grateful to C at Fiori Bridal for altering some cocktail and competition attire for me. These sponsorships are an asset to my preparedness.

Speaking of LA...I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a Vermonter. If the opportunity to share with the Nation what Vermont is all about arises in LA I want to be prepared. Being born, raised, and educated in the 802 gives me great anecdotal evidence of why I believe this state to be so great. A few words come to mind when describing the essence of our, service, mentors, simplicity, & nature top the list, among many others. I leave for LA in two weeks. It anyone wishes to share why they love Vermont and what they believe the essence of Vermont to be please write a response. I welcome your input.

I hope this gorgeous week has treated you well. Don't forget to vote in your Primary Election on Tuesday!

Love & Blessings,

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Lifetime in 12 Months

One year ago today I was anxious and teary eyed as I kissed my Mom and Dad goodbye in the Boston airport. I was headed for a four month internship in Sydney, Australia. One year, two theses, one diploma, one crown, and a lifetime of life experience later I sit. As the last three weeks blur together in my mind I am finding it more and more important to take little moments to reflect on my expereinces and count my blessings. If the rest of my reign is anything like the last 12 months of my life, the moment I place my crown on my predecessor's head will be here in the bat of an eye.

That being said, I will take a few moments now to reflect on the month of August. The first week proved to be quite a thrill. I performed at South Burlington's National Night Out as well as the Family Motor Coach Association's Northeast Rally. The highlight of the week came at the Travis Roy Foundation's Annual Wiffle Ball Tournament. The Travis Roy foundation raises money for spinal cord research and victim support services. I was honored to play on the Celebrity team in the opening game. To my surprise I was the only woman on the team and had to hold my own for my title and gender playing with former Red Sox players and an NHL player. Luckily for me, I played softball when I was young and spent many summer evenings in the back yard with my cousins crushing the wiffle ball. I was the lead-off batter in the bottom of the first, swung hard at the first pitch and hit a homerun! That moment was magnified because no one was expected Miss Vermont to be any good. HAH!

The next week I spent in Orlando, Florida with some of my Miss America sisters. We flew to Orlando to support our Outstanding Teen titleholders as they competed for the title of Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2009. The week was packed for us Miss contestants with PR and good times. We spent one morning on The Daily Buzz morning news program, one day at Disney, one day at Seaworld, three nights watching our teen's compete, and one night at a grand fundraising soiree at a gorgeous Orlando estate. Although we did exciting things, the best part of the week was becoming friends with the rest of the women. It is a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by such intelligent, accomplished, and down-to-earth ladies.

Today I sang the National Anthem at my high school's first home football game of the season. I love going back to Lyndon Institute. This will not be the last time I return this year. I am currently in the process of setting up my state-wide voter registration drive. One of those stops in October will be to Lyndon Institute.

Monday is Labor Day and I will be in Northfield in the morning to sing the National Anthem at the start of their grand Labor Day Parade. After singing, I will jump in my car and drive to Essex where I will spend the afternoon and evening meeting and greeting at the Essex Roatry Corn Booth at the Champlain Valley Fair. I look forward to eating corn on the cob, meeting with Vermonters, and getting to know some rotarians. Wednesday I will be singing the National Anthem and God Bless America during the 7th Inning Stretch of the home Lake Monsters Game. We will be selling 50/50 tickets for a fundraiser so if anyone is available and in the Burlington area come out for the game and buy lots and lots of 50/50 tickets! ;)

I have 21 days until flying to LA to film the Miss America Reality Show. After Orlando, I really look forward to spending more time with my Miss America sisters. I feel blessed that the new face of the Miss America Organization allows us ladies to spend so much time together.

In this post I would like to acknowledge the community members who came to my car wash on August 2nd. The day was a big success and I was humbled by the generosity of Northeast Kingdom-ers. THANK YOU!

Much Love,

Friday, August 1, 2008

Long Time...No Write.

I have just realized it has been half a month since I last wrote. Sorry for that. When I don't see any new comments posted I assume no one is reading the blog. Then I run into someone or hear from someone on the phone (Shauneen...ahem) who looks forward to my new here I go.

Since the great Fenway extravaganza it seems I have been here, there, and everywhere... Vermont Mountaineers Game, Rotary Speeches, Stars and Stripes Parade in Lyndonville, sang at my Church, Registered voters at the University Mall in Burlington, Sang Anthem at another Lake Monsters Game, Toured the Vermont Children's Hospital, was presented with a fundraising quilt from Lyndon State College Quilt Camp, and still managed to nanny, have voice lessons, train, do my Miss America paperwork (kinda...not done yet :0), re-do my bedroom at my folk's house, and spend two quality days at the lake house with Grammy, Dad, Mom, and cousins. woah. I think that was the longest, most incorrect sentence I have ever written. ha. Oh well, you get the point.

During the last couple week's travels there have been some stand-out moments I would like to highlight. Foremost, it was a joy to sing the National Anthem during the parade at the Stars and Stripes Festival in Lyndonville. This was my first "fly-over" experience. Mr. Axelrod of Lyndon executed a grand "fly-over" coordinated in perfect time during the last part of my singing in memory of Caledonia County state Representative Cola Hudson and Lyndon's own late Dr. Elliot. It was an honor to be part of a moment so much bigger than myself. Both of these men had such a profound impact on our community. They made contributions so great, I only hope to some day be as well respected. The second moment I would like to highlight is my experience at the Vermont Children's Hospital (VCH). Yesterday morning I toured the Hosptial at Flethcher Allen Medical Center by the Hospital's Director of Development and Children's Miracle Network Coordinator, Laura Simmers. I also met Dr. Lewis First, well-known around the state for his television spots. The VCH is quite amazing. I was not expecting to see such a cheerful and child-friendly atmosphere. The Children's Miracle Network (CMN) has focused their resources on making the children's surroundings colorful and even fun. Because of the Children's Miracle Network there are toys, games, and activities for the children to use while in the hospital. They have even provided child friendly modes of wheeled transportation for the children to use in lieu of wheelchairs, such as red wagons. I am glad to see what an impact CMN has on VCH. It makes CMN a tangible charity in my mind and one I am proud to be an ambassador for. If anyone is interested in making a donation to the Children's Miracle Network I am in need of raising an additional $250 for them. To do so please visit and search my name, Ashley Wheeler. My page will appear and you can make your donation there....every little bit helps. Let's raise more than the $750 total required to compete at Miss America!

The next ten days are quite a marathon until I depart for Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant and Miss workshop in Orlando, Florida. I hope to see some of you at my car wash tomorrow in Lyndonville at Guyer and Morill Real Estate, Sunday's Vermont Mozart Festival in Stowe, National Night Out in South Burlington on Tuesday, Family Motor Coach of America's Regional Rally in Essex on Thursday, the Travis Roy Foundation Celebrity Wiffle Ball Tournament in Jericho on Friday, and the Lake Monsters game on next Sunday. As of the 12th I am off to Orlando to meet my Miss America sisters and support Blaize Hall as she competes for Miss America's Outstanding Teen. Oh, and in the midst of it all I turn 22 on Wednesday. My goodness did 22 years fly by...I still feel like the little girl enjoying these summer days at the power's park pool and begging Dad for 75 cents to buy an ice cream cone at Carmen's. I don't think 75 cents cuts it these days.

In today's post my voice coach Shyla Nelson gets a grand shout out. Shyla will be performing at the Vermont Mozart Festival on Sunday night in Stowe. GOOD LUCK! She also deserves great praise and gratitude for taking time to work with this un-trained vocalist week after week. THANKS SHYLA!

Love and Blessings,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I would be remiss if I let one more day go by without pausing to reflect on my time spent at Fenway Park on Sunday. It was a true diva day.

My day began with a 5:45am wake-up. I gathered my bags and slumbered, tired-eyed, and in PJ's out to the driveway where my parent's motorhome was waiting to roll out. My first diva moment of the day came when it dawned on me that I could simply retreat to bedroom at the rear of the motorhome (dubbed "tour bus" for the day/rest of my life) and go back to bed!

At 8:00am Mom woke me, as the tour bus was half way to Boston, to start getting dressed and made-up. I stepped out of the tour bus bedroom to find my mom, dad (tour bus driver extraordinaire), grandmother, two uncles, one aunt, and two cousins smiling back at me from their seats on the couch of the tour bus.

Now, getting ready in a tour bus is not as glamorous as one might think. In fact, voluntarily placing a 450 degree flat iron one centimeter from one's skull quickly became the stupidest thing I have done in a long time. Hence, the reason you will see my hair pulled back in Fenway photos.

My second diva moment of the day came when I pulled my perfectly pressed and printed MISS VERMONT 08 Red Sox Jersey from the tour bus closet where my amazing parents had so brilliantly hung it as to not forget it or get it wrinkled. (spoiled? maybe a little?)

10am brought sound check. My mom, dad, and I were escorted into an empty Fenway Park. The only people in the park were grounds crew, Mr. Remy, and players. In fact, Dustin Pedroia stepped out of the dugout as I did my sound check and let me tell you, that was hard to look at ;). Sound check was a breeze. I am glad I practiced however because there is intense echo in Fenway and hearing my own voice after I finished a note could have thrown me off live. There is a great feeling entering the historic Fenway Park, and to enter it nearly empty and walk on the field was truly special.

After a quick lunch break with the family, at 11:45am I returned to Gate D on Yawkee Way to tape the NESN lineup. THAT WAS FUN! Dad and I were again escorted into the park, this time to find it filled with batting practice, fans, and a lot of press. We were escorted past barricades, onto the field, and into the Red Sox dugout (OMG!). I set on the bench and practiced the lineup. After a run through I was ready to get in front of the camera.

From that point until the 7th Inning Stretch (when I was set to sing God Bless America) I signed autographs and took photos with fellow Red Sox fans and many fellow Vermonters as it was VT DAY at Fenway. I was able to watch several innings of the game until two Red Sox officials came to my seats at the top of the 6th Inning to take me to the field. I sat just off 1st base waiting for the 3rd out of the top of the 7th. It is hard to believe but I was not nervous at all. I knew there were 38,000 people watching and the prospect of more watching on NESN but I was ready to sing! Soon enough the 3rd out came and I was directed onto the field. A camera was placed right in my face and I quickly decided to look past it. I faced home plate and looked up to the American flag waving in the breeze atop the green edifice with the placard which reads "FENWAY PARK". I was lost in the moment at never thought of the eyes watching and ears listening. I thought of America and Vermont and the what the words of the song meant to me.

What a thrill! Baseball...the great American pastime. The Boston Red Sox...the greatest baseball team in the world. Vermont Day...the greatest state in the nation being honored. What a day!

This post's shout out goes to the friends and family that made it to Fenway Park on Sunday (Amanda...all the way from Block Island! xo). It made the day all the more special to share it with you. Wheeler fam & FBQB2... you're the best!

This week I am traveling the state again. Monday I was in Montpelier to meet with the Secretary of States office. The meeting was a great success and I now have permission to use Secretary Markowitz slogan "Your Vote is Your Voice" as my platform name. While in the state capital I threw out the first pitch and did a meet and greet at the Vermont Mountaineers baseball game.

Yesterday I was in St. Albans for my first Rotary speech. Who knew Rotary meetings were so light hearted and fun? The St. Alban's Rotary starts out with jokes and something called happy/sad dollars (their comical version of announcements). I incorporated my experience at Fenway into my speech and my platform. As I arrived at the "one vote truly makes a difference" pitch, I got the overwhelming feeling I was preaching to the choir. As I continued, Rotary members began to point and chuckle. One of their members won a town selectman seat by one vote! Case and point!

I hope this week finds everyone healthy and happy. Please visit to watch the posting of my God Bless America at Fenway. If anyone is in Lyndonville on Saturday I will be riding and singing in the Stars and Stripes Parade and registering voters in the Bandstand Park immediately following.

Love and Blessings,

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Every year I put my Martina McBride CD in the player (if its not in already) to listen to "Independence Day" on the 4th of July. I just realized I did not do that this year. I am not sure why because I had plenty of time in the car on July 4th...and 3rd...and 5th...but oh well, next year I will pick up the tradition again.

This past weekend was fun fun! July 3rd I kicked off Independence weekend by registering voters and speaking on the importance of voting to a group of a few hundred young engineers at a youth engineering conference at UVM. Now, you might be asking yourself how and why I spoke to engineers about politics. The right and privledge to vote can be fused together with literally anything! Pick a hobby. Say for instance (in honor of my best friend who is currently out west working with grasshoppers) your hobby or life's work has to do with grasshoppers. Well, some of the money used to fund grasshopper research comes from the government. Case and point. Back to engineering...these young engineers will soon hold the key to our roads, power, and just about every other facet of public infastructure in the palm of their hands. So why not encourage them to go into public service? Why not encourage them to use their specialized knowledge to better the world for the rest of us?

Later on the 3rd I rode in the Independence Day Parade in downtown Montpelier with Miss Vermont's Outstanding Teen, Blaize Hall. The parade was good. I am just thankful that the man in the santa suit saw governor Douglas before he saw me. I am not sure I could have taken a pie to the face with so much composure.

The 4th of July brought me to Morristown. I rode with Mr. Manosh in the parade and then wandered the festival at People's Academy, singing the anthem at the Fiddle Contest and youth concert. Morristown was a wonderful Vermont town to spend Independence Day in. The people were very kind and enthusiastic to have me there.

July 5th was spent in Lyndonville with a stop at the Burklyn Arts Council craft fair where I performed God Bless America, Anyway, and The Prayer. And just when I thought I was free and clear for an evening of peace I was called to Burlington to sing the Anthem at the Lake Monsters baseball game. I am a lucky girl having my mother on my side pushing me to do everything and anything I can to be the best Miss Vermont I can be. She was willing and enthusistic to drive me to Burlington and back that night. I kept thinking, gosh, this is only one year. I only get one 4th of July to be Miss Vermont, so I want to do everything and be everywhere I can.

And now...2 pieces of exciting news!
1. Sunday I will be singing God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch at Fenway Park as the Red Sox host the Orioles. Sunday is Vermont Day at Fenway. I am beside myself with excitement about this event. There is a special feeling inside the historic Fenway Park. To be part of the day's festivities is an honor for me.
2. I learned this week that the TLC reality show "Miss America Reality Check: Becoming Miss America" will be 8 and possibly 9 episodes this year. I will be in LA for a whole month to shoot it! It will be quite an adventure!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe holiday weekend. Tune into NESN and/or TBS at 1:05pm on Sunday as the Red Sox beat the Orioles and I sing to 36,000 fans and national television!

Love and Blessings,

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Every now and then you come across people who want to beat you up and slow you down. One busy day, the week after I was crowned I was running around to appearances, interviews, and meetings (not to mention finalizing my senior thesis on Biblical and Quaranic Interpretations of a Woman's Right to Vote and Hold Office). During one of those crazy days I zoomed onto campus in my Miss Vermont T-shirt to grab my mail from our campus mailroom and a wrap from our student center. I saw several friends and peers while on this ten minute jaunt in between Miss Vermont meetings. I have since heard that a peer of mine was blabbing to a group of friends that I was arrogant after having been crowned...his only evidence...because I was wearing my Miss Vermont T-shirt "all around campus". Luckily I have the confidence (mistake it for arrogance if you are unsure of the difference) to laugh something like that off.

What reminded me of this little story was a blog post I read this evening. The blog entry was a response to the "Strolling of the Heifers" parade I went to in Brattleboro a few weeks ago. The portion of the blog which pertains to me had a photo of me waving to the crowd and the caption read...

"Hey look, it’s Miss Vermont, Ashley Wheeler, sitting on a bale of hay! She looked a lot better when she was crowned.
Sometimes I wonder if these girls know the hardships of the job – I may be off base, but it looks like it’s taking a toll on her.
From her own blog, “I am not sure exactly what to expect but I am certain cows will be ’strolling’ down main street. I am contemplating dressing in black and white as to blend in with the heifers.”
I mean, I wouldn’t really like to go for a hay ride all dressed up. Would you? And is it just me or is it really stupid to wear white when you know you’re going to be sitting in a rusty trailer filled with a bunch of hay? Apparently, she didn’t know.
Really though, can a parade really be called a parade without at least one beauty queen swiveling her forearm like the real Queen?"

I know I will not be able (or want) to respond to every negative thing written, said, or thought about me...and why would I? I don't want to give the negativity any more focus then it has already. However, tonight when I saw that blog I thought I am going to say something just this once. I think it is important to all little girls who look up to young women such as myself to know that there are bitter and sad people in this world who like to poke fun at others and try to make accomplished people feel bad for the goals they have reached and for going after the goals they aspire to achieve.

In direct response to the words in the aforementined blog I will say that I had a great time at the Strolling of the Heifers. I met a lot of wonderfully friendly and giving people-- people like Charlie Robb who graciously gave of his time and resources to pull me behind his John Deere tractor and so fitting of Vermont made a thrown for me out of hay barrels. I had never met Charlie Robb before that day but I am glad I did. His gracious and altruistic demeanor epitomizes a true Vermonter. I arrived in Brattleboro fully prepared to walk the parade route in my black pants and white jacket to celebate the importance of agriculture in this state. I was lucky to have "a rusty old trailer filled with a bunch of hay." That's Vermont folks and that is the state I am proud to represent.

On the day in question I went to the parade that morning after being in Barre for a parade the night before and sped to Saint Johnsbury for the Relay for Life walk just after. I did three appearances in three different corners of the state in 24 hours. I do "know the hardships of [this] job" and so far the only hardship I have come across while holding this job is hearing false, negative, ramble about an organization and position that is many times misunderstood.

Today i received an e-mail from a mother whose daughter I met and shared a few minutes with after the parade in Brattleboro that day. She was requesting an autograph card and thanking me for being such a positive role model for her daughter. That is what this year is about and that is why I am proud to be the "Beauty queen swiveling [my] arm like the real Queen."

To the author of this post I hope you find validation in your own life so you can stop seeking it from trying to take it away from others. I also encourage you to learn about the history of the Miss America Organization. Hopefully then you will realize that the young women who join in the pursuit of becoming the next Miss America do so for personal and professional development, scholarships for education, and to have a voice to advocate for a cause that is close to her heart. When I read your post only 54 people had also done so. That is 54 people who may have walked away from reading it with a negative impression about the Miss Vermont Schoalrship Organization...that is why I felt compelled this evening to respond.

As always thank you to everyone who is a true friend and has always supported me in all my endeavors. There are many more great times and memories to come. Stay close.

Love and Blessings,

Monday, June 23, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake

I just came from the Vermont Children's Theatre fundraising Auction. It was an appearance I was proud to be part of as I realize the importance of volunteer based art organizations like the VCT. I was in the 1995 VCT production of Annie and fell in love with the stage. I was only 9 and had a small orphan part (I was the orphan who hid in the linen basket from Ms. Hannigan). However small my role was that expereince was instrumental to introuding me to theater. I plugged for the auction this morning on my hometown radio station WGMT. The kind Steve Nichols interviewed me about the auction and my reign.

I have been trying to eat really well and have succeeded for the most part. Tonight however, I feel guity because I just pigged out on homemade strawberry shortcake. I am not sure why I writing about this, but a blog is meant to share thoughts right? Well, my thoughts at the moment are about guilt in pigging out on Stawberry shortcake.

Thursday I will be singing the Anthem and registering voters at Thunder Road. Thursday is the coveted Governor's Cup and I have been asked to sing. I am honored to be a part of this great annual Vermont event. Hopefully I will see you at the races!

Saturday I will be in Fall River, Massachussetts for the Miss Massachussetts Scholarship Pageant. I am excited to see another production and meet some other 2008 titleholders.

As always you can track my official schedule at Our new webiste will be launched in August so keep checking.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Car, Cows, and...Burpees!?

Car, Cows, and...Burpees. The life of Miss Vermont is quite eclectic. One minute I am dressed and made-up for a 12 hour appearance at a charity golf tournament and the next minute I am in a t-shirt and shorts sweating as my trainer pushes me to works my glutes (and work my glutes i have...and my arms...and my hammies...and my abs...etc). A glance at the "Apperances" tab of will give you a good idea of my days. Since my last post, when I am not at an official appearance, I am working with my trainer, meeting with my image and wardrobe consultant, scheduling appearances, calling potential sponsors, and meeting with different organizations that want to partner with the MVSO.

I have had some very productive meetings lately. Last week I met with the Secretary of States Office in Montpelier. They are totally energized about my platform and want to use me to register voters at events they cannot attend. I got some great ideas from them about how to engage even young school children in voting and being politically active. I have also solidified a partnership with Vermont 211. 211 is a United Way organization which serves as an information source for basically anything you need to know. For instance, a call to 211 can answer for you where your nearest foodbank is and what to expect when you get there. 211 compiles requests and helps implement policy change by keeping track of needs Vermonts have. For instance, this winter there was a rise in Vermonters calling about fuel assistance. Those type of statistics can help policy makers see what Vermonters are struggling with. I am happy to spread the word about 211. I joked with the dispaters that if I keep this schedule up soon I will be calling in to ask what day it is (all day Monday I was certain it was Sunday.)

This weekend will be very full. Tomorrow, Friday, I go to Barre for the Car Show Parade. From there I will drive to Brattleboro for Saturday morning's "Strolling of the Heifers" parade. I am not sure exactly what to expect but I am certain cows will be "strolling" down main street. I am contemplating dressing in black and white as to blend in with the heifers. After showing my support for agriculture I will venture to the Northeast Kingdom to help kick-off Saint Johnsbury's Relay for Life. All of this traveling will be done in my new Suzuki SX4 which I pick up from Quality Suzuki tomorrow! I saw the car today and it looks great. A pearly white with green lettering and the new Miss Vermont logo. I could not be more excited.

Today commenced my second week working with my new personal trainer. As I type, I notice I can't lift my arms above my sholders. haha. I love it! I have been very pleased with the training I have done in the last two weeks. I wish I could have more free time to run but at least working with my trainer I am staying on track. I have developed a love/hate relationship with an excercise called "Burpees". A squat, pushup, squat, jump to the sky fluid motion. Today i did 60. Next week my trainer wants 100 in a session. Yikes! Miss America here I come.

This post's shout out has to go to Lonny Ruggles. Lonny is a family friend and has dubbed himself my #1 fan. Today I received "fanmail" from Lonny (it actually said "FANMAIL" all over the envelope and letter.) Lonny cracks me up and gives me the push I need to continue to find the humor in living out of a suitcase and stroll with heifers. ;)

Lovin' Every Minute!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Per my sister's suggestion, it is time to add another entry. It has been long since I last updated, I know, and I apoligize. Two weeks ago I graduated from Saint Michael's College and then took a one week sun and beach holiday with my girlfriends.

I returned from our Florida R&R trip one day earlier then the other ladies. I flew in last Friday night and drove to the Northeast kingdom. The next morning I judged company auditions for the Dance Workshop of Lyndonville. Judging company auditions is a job I take seriously. The Dance Workshop (my true alma mater) is an asset to the young dancers in the community. Under the direction of Sonia Deveroux and Kay Welch young men and women learn true grace, poise, and confidence. I was proud to return to the studio on Saturday!

Sunday was a big day. I stayed in Burlington with my mother and two grandmothers on Saturday night. We rose with the sun (maybe before?) to get to the waterfront in Burlington for the Vermont City Marathon. It was my fifth year taking part in the VCM. This year their were 8,000 runners and at least as many spectators. I sang the National Anthem and ran the last leg of the marathon for my relay team: "The NEK Queens". I did not nail the anthem. I hate walking off a stage feeling that i did not sing my best. I started on too high a key and had to compensate on the big notes. Oh Well. It will be better next time. Running the final leg was awesome. I had a blast. I did not push mytself to run a fast race pace. To be honest, I just enjoyed the 5.8 miles. I looked around at the other runners, the supportive spectators (many with signs of encourage, water hoses, and orange slices), and the incredible scenery of the great state of Vermont. My leg was along the bikepath on the waterfront. What a view! I crossed the finish line with my crown on my head. My mother met me outside the finish area with bobby pins and my crown so i could run the last half mile with the crown on. The thousands of spectators on the waterfront were very responsive. :)

This week I have started working with my personal trainer to get in shape for Miss America. I have over 7 months to become Miss America. I look forward to ever grueling step.

The biggest news and shoutout of the week goes to Shelley Martin and Able Toll at Quality Suzuki in Saint Johnsbury. Under the generous direction of Shelley and Able, Quality Suzuki, is partnering with the Miss Vermont Scholarship Organization by donating a new Suzuki SX4 crossover vehicle for my reign. I was flattered and honored to receive this incredibly generous sponsorship. The car is being decaled as i write and I can't wait to start driving it. One thing is for sure, with all the decals on the car, if I am on the won't miss me!

All My Best,

p.s. I enjoy reading your responses. Thanks for all the support!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Crazy/Beautiful Week

I thought "beauty sleep" was a comical excuse for wanting to call it a night. This morning however, while dabbing a pound of concealer under my eyes, I realized "beauty sleep" does in fact exist and I am not getting it. Thank God for under eye concealer.

A little re-cap...This week has been a blast. Besides Sunday's interview with WCAX which I wrote about in last week's post, I was honored to be interviewed on Lana and Nolan in the morning on Star 92.9, as well as taped and conducted live interviews with WKOL 100.5, WOKO 98.9, WIRY 1340, WGMT 97.7, and KIX 105.5. Tomorrow morning I will be on live on WLFE from 7am to 8am co-hosting with Paul Beaudry. Other than interviews, I was humbled to sing the National Anthem at the March of Dimes, March for Babies on the Waterfront in Burlington on Saturday morning and greet walkers at the March for Babies in Lyndonville this morning. What an incredible and altruistic organization! I hope to partner with them throughout the year. Their work is so admirable. Last night I was a guest at the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Pageant. I was blown away at their level of Scholarship and their caliber of production. During the opening number I thought for a moment I was at Miss America. The talent and poise of all the ladies competing for the title of Miss NH 2008 was incredible. The evening concluded by the crowning of Natalie Shaw. Congratulations Natalie! It was at Miss NH 2008, I realized how special this job is. I was reminded just how hard young women all around the nation work to even compete for their state title. It was humbling to sit in the audience with a crown on my head knowing that I am one of only 52 women going to Miss America.

The most challanging moment of the week came on Friday morning. I had been at my first photo shoot on Thursday night in St. Albans and had to be back in St. Albans at 7:15am on Friday. Friday was also the day the final edition of my senior thesis was due. After my photo shoot I returned home to Burlington. I revised my thesis for the final time and made it to bed at about 1am. At 5:45am I was up with the sun to primp and get to St. Albans for a radio interview. When I arrived at my destination (coffee in hand!) the building I was suppossed to be at was locked and empty. Long story short, there was a bit of misscommunication and the show was actually being brodcast only 4 miles from my house in Burlington. This was the first moment of my reign that my lack of sleep and emotional nature were ready to overtake my tear ducts. My first thought was that such challanges would happen throughout my year and if I handled a frustrating situation with a smile now, I would be more likely to handle the next frustrating situation the same way. To make lemonade out of lemons I found the local high school and introduced myself to the guidance office, left my contact information, and offered to hold a voter registration drive in the Fall. Even though that offer could have been made via phone or e-mail, I felt better about making the 60 mile round trip.

My greatest moment of the week came this morning after the March for Babies registration. I went to my hometown church, the United Methodist Church of Lyndonville. They are the most supportive and loving community and I am blessed to have them. I was honored to serve communion to my church family at the kind request of Paster Barb. It was truly an honor. Barb's sermon this morning was called "Home Alone" and Barb spoke about how the disciples must have felt after Jesus left them in body and they only had the spirit to guide them. The point was that the spirit is enough to achieve anything. One facet of her sermon talked about how timing is everything and that God has a plan...we just have to ride the wave. I could not have scripted a better message for me to hear this morning. I do feel as though everything happens for a reason and that this year is the perfect year for me to have this title because I can give so much of myself to the organization and the state in which I was born and raised.

My total miles for week one equal 663!
This week's shout out must go to my mother who graciously drove me to and from Derry, New Hampshire last night (after working a full day). I would not have been able to go without her. And I certainly would have needed more concealer without the nap I took on the car ride down. I love you Mom and with Mother's Day upon us I think this is the perfect time to tell you that I am who I am and do what I do because of the gracious, generous, and loving example you have set for me.

All My Best,

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Aunt Liz. Thanks for all the love and support over the years and seeing me through this one especially.

A Night to Remember!

I have packed suitcases, dress bags, and of course a crown and sash sitting on the floor behind my desk as I write, begging to be unpacked, but I want to stop amidst the hubbub of the last 24 hours to share with you my experience. I have competed for Miss Vermont three times. Every expereince has taught me something about myself and helped me grow. However, out of the three years I have been to Miss Vermont pageant weekend, this was my favorite. I don't say that because I won, quite to the contrary. Last night standing backstage before the awards were announced I reflected on what an incredible group of women I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with. I knew any one of us would do this state a great honor by spending the year as Miss Vermont 2008. That is why this weekend was so special!
When my name was called as the winner, I was in shock. I always thought I would cry if it ever happened but instead of tears the most emotion I could express was a giant smile and pump of my fists. From that moment on this is a brief overview of the last 24 hours. -Rachel Ann Cole puts the Miss Vermont 2008 crown on my head...official pictures taken...I briefly meet and thank the and hugs with friends and family...pack up (while reading 14 text messages and 9 voicemails!...guess good news really does travel fast!) from Barre to the Sheraton...stay up talking with mom and dad...few hours of sleep...get up this morning for my first television interview with WCAX...brunch meeting with the MVO and dad escort me to St.Albans for my first official appearance (The Vermont Maple Festival)....and now you are up to speed. I am back at Saint Michael's campus to unpack.
At the Maple Festival today it hit me just how great this year is going to be. I met sweet little girls whose mouths gaped at my crown. I also met a gracious family from Fairfield who were generous enough to allow me to ride in their horse drawn carriage when my convertible did not show up...THANK YOU JEWETT FAMILY! And to be honest I was more proud to be riding with a true Vermont family being pulled behind their beautiful horses than in a car anyway.
The list of people I have to thank is enormous and I hope you all know you are not off the hook yet because I will be relying on you all heavily this year as I travel the state looking for sponsors, promoting my platform, and networking for the Miss Vermont Organization. I dedicate my crowning to those who were there in body and spirit last night. I love you all. Mom and are my rock. Grammy Fay & Grammy strengths are a combination of the example you have set...I love you. JAAKKS (Kevin as the double K) are my NEK life! Harry and Claire...what a lucky lady I am to have a second family like you...the cookie dough is now consumed and what a treat it was! Sonia, Kay, Jackie, dancing ladies to whom I would not be Miss Vermont without your grace and the confidence you instilled in me. Angie and smc mentors...your support is above and beyond...your generousity teaches me true beauty! Erica, Shelley, Rene, Mrs. Percy, Lauren, Lana, Sue Mills...I am so honored you shared that night with me! Fellow each amazed me and I hope you know how much your graciousness last night meant to me. And to those who were unable to attend last night but always love and support gorgeous sister Amanda and my South Carolina Family...the Wheeler Family...the smc gals (thanks to Jill o, Andz, Tracy, Kara, & Aimee for driving to my appearance today!) Australia crew...and the many others who have helped shaped me...I APPRECIATE ALL YOU DO.
I hope you stay tuned as I update this blog throughout my year. I am so excited to get going. MARK THE DATE...I will be singing the National Anthem and running in the Vermont City Marathon on May 25th in Burlington! As well, I look forward to be a guest at the Miss New Hampshire 2008 crowning this coming weekend!

Ashley Wheeler
Miss Vermont 2008! (YAY!)