When Sheila Kauzlarich was raising her daughters, she hoped they would be interested in pageants.
But Kauzlarich, who in November 2013 was named Mrs. Iowa United States, had little luck fostering a passion for pageants in her girls.
“One day Sheena looked at me and said, ‘If you want it so bad, why don’t you do it yourself?’” Kauzlarich remembered with a laugh.
Kauzlarich, 48, didn’t seriously consider her daughter’s advice at the time. But in fall 2013, she was helping her niece prepare for a pageant when she ran across the Mrs. Iowa United States competition.
One of her sisters, Holly Oden, helped talk her into entering and has since worked on her public relations materials.
“She was really hesitating whether she should do this,” Oden said. “I said, ‘Sheila, you have always wanted something like this. What is the worst thing that is going to happen, that they are not going to select you?’”
In October 2013, Kauzlarich applied for the title. Because there was no state director this year, the title was determined by a committee in New York based on application materials and photographs.
In November 2013, she received word that she had been named Mrs. Iowa. The Mrs. United States competition will be July 20–25 at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa in Las Vegas.
Kauzlarich was already no stranger to taking a non-traditional route and overcoming obstacles. When she was younger she wanted to go to college and become a nurse, but it didn’t work out at the time.
At age 37, when her youngest child was 2 years old, Kauzlarich decided to pursue her long-time dream and enrolled in the nursing program at Indian Hills Community College.
Kauzlarich said she came to understand the value of mentoring during this time, when Lottie Wilson at the college mentored her through the degree program while she was still working and fulfilling family duties.