Monday, February 1, 2010

Auroran pursues crowning glory at Miss America Pageant

By Bill Husted
Denver Post

Miss Colorado Katie Layman, right, visits with Nicole Miner, Miss New Mexico, during rehearsals for the Miss America pageant last week in Las Vegas. The pageant airs Saturday on TLC. (Ethan Miller, Getty Images)

Katie Layman is 24, lives in Aurora, studies at the University of Colorado Denver, wants to be a teacher and really wants to be Miss America.

You can watch her on the Miss America Pageant @ 6 p.m. Saturday on the TLC network.

Layman spent the week at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, where the contestants have been rehearsing. "It's been the experience of a lifetime," she says.

And she's done a lot in her lifetime. She's been a Denver Broncos cheerleader, and she's been a Rockette in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Her pageant talent is contemporary lyrical dance. But Layman knows the minefield at a pageant is the Q&A at the end.

She already received a preliminary grilling from Rush Limbaugh and Vivica Fox — and that's a wild duo to pepper you with queries.

Layman is well aware of the famous flub from Miss South Carolina at the Miss Teen USA 2007 pageant. Here's Caitlin Upton's answer to a question about why one-fifth of Americans can't find the United States on a map. It's been viewed more than 35 million times on YouTube: "I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children."

Layman says, "They can ask you anything they want. You just have to be honest and go with your heart. It's really something when you are on that stage and the whole world is watching. It can go either way."

So good luck kid. We'll be watching, and 50 friends and family members will be waving Colorado flags and cheering in the audience.