Democrat Photo by Rob Potter
State Officials Agree:
By Rob Potter
LIBERTY June 16, 2000 -- Laurie Reinshagen is one grandmother who would rather stroll down a pageant runway than sit in a rocking chair.
And this past Mothers Day weekend, Reinshagen did walk down a pageant runway, that is.
At the Ms. New York State World of Beauty 2000 Pageant in Lake George, Reinshagen captured top honors in the 40+ age category.
While she was naturally excited and proud to be named Ms. NYS 40+, competing is reward enough for Reinshagen.
I just enjoy going to the pageants and meeting new people, said the 41-year-old, who took top honors at the 1998 World of Beauty pageant in the 30-39 age category.
(The World of Beauty Pageants have age categories ranging from infants and young girls to teens to 20-29, 30-39 and 40+ age divisions for women.)
The two World of Beauty crowns represent Reinshagens triumphant return to the pageant lifestyle.
A little more than a decade ago, Reinshagen who captured the title of Ms. Sullivan County Speedway back in 1981 was involved in a serious auto accident. Her injuries were so severe that her doctors were not sure she would ever walk again.
Reinshagen eventually regained her ability to walk, but did not immediately return to sauntering down pageant runways. She said it took her about eight years to get herself focused and ready to compete in pageants again.
One day in 1997, my daughter saw this ad for the Ms. New York State World of Beauty Pageant, Reinshagen recalled with a smile. And she said, Mom, you should get back into pageants.
So with encouragement from her daughter, Cora Olsen, 23, as well as sons Howard Olsen III, who is 22 years old, and nine-year-old Nicholas Reinshagen, Laurie Reinshagen began competing again.
Nicholas was so excited when he found out that I had won this title, she said. Hes my biggest fan.
Despite the rough times she endured, Reinshagen, who is a waitress at the Liberty Diner, wouldnt allow herself to abandon her aspirations or think negatively.
I never gave up my dream of competing in beauty pageants, said Reinshagen, who in addition to her age group titles also captured Miss Photogenic trophies in the 1998 and 2000 Ms. NYS World of Beauty competitions. So here I am today.
She has plenty of support from many friends and family members even her youngest fans, 18-month-old grandson Devan DeJesus and two-year-old granddaughter Brianna Olsen. And dont forget her sponsors: Joel Brodie, who owns and operates the Magic Mirror salon in Liberty, and Richard Scott, who is the general manager of Mikes Tire Discount & Auto Service Center in Swan Lake.
Reinshagen is planning to enter other pageants in the near future, including one next year in Roanoke, Virginia.
I want to do all of them I can before I get a few years older and have to sit in that rocking chair, she said with a laugh.