Justine Wagner was selected as America’s Super Classic Mrs. at America’s Super Pageant International at the Missoula Community Theatre, Center for the Performing Arts, Sept. 30 in Missoula.
“I was shocked even though I had a feeling that I was going to win,” Wagner said. “When they announced me a winner I put my hands over my mouth and almost hyperventilated. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe I won. I was beside myself, it’s my first pageant, age 55, check off the bucket list.”
Last year Wagner held the state title of “Montana’s Super Classic Mrs.” and gave 16 presentations on seat belt safety awareness throughout Montana.
“I loved presenting to elementary students in Missoula, playing games and singing songs,” she said. “It’s a good place to start because kids will tattle: ‘My mommy wears her seat belt but my daddy doesn’t’ and they will take the important message home.”
Wagner is a member of the Missoula/Granite Buckle Up Coalition (Buckle Up Montana) and does appearances with them.
“We take the Respect the Cage and show an actual car that was in an accident and someone lost his life in,” Wagner said. “We take the exhibit around and talk about the importance of wearing seat belts.”
The America’s Super pageant, directed by Janet Bierer, is a personal development opportunity for women to promote seat belt safety awareness, advance their personal platforms and serve as a role model.
Age divisions include: PreTeen/Jr. Miss (8-13 years), Teen (14-17 years), Miss (18-25 years), Ms. (single/divorced), Mrs. (all ages/married), Classic (over age 50) and Queen (plus size).
Areas of competition include: photogenic, interview, fitness (athletic attire/swimwear), formal wear and a 30-60 second platform statement.
“Mine was on companion animal abuse and neglect, that’s my personal platform,” Wagner said. “I held a stuffed animal, Jake a German shepherd, and I spoke on his behalf because, you know, animals have no voice.”
Wagner said her speech was a unique presentation.
“I said ‘Please give us a warm bed, don’t let us starve, please comfort us when we are scared, give us love and attention and treat us like family because when you do we’ll be your best friend forever,’” she said. “Please show us that humans are full of love and not hate, please don’t desert us when we are old. Please always take us ever where you go and wear your seatbelt.’ I tried to bring it back to the big platform.”
As part of the competition, the competitors rehearsed their speeches, practiced walking on stage and working with the music.
“It is an international beauty pageant,” Wagner said. “It was three days of rehearsing and doing events like farmers market, riding the carousel, hikes to the M and coffee time to get to know each other and the community and promote the pageant. It was three full days of go, go, go.”
Wagner said attendance at the pageant awards was “pretty good.”
“I did have fans in the audience which is great to have support when you’re on stage,” she said. “I’m a native and so it was easier for me. A lot of folks brought their families from Texas and Wisconsin and wherever they came from. It was a wonderful experience.”
Wagner will spend this year with her America’s Super Classic Mrs. title promoting her platform of companion animal abuse and neglect.
“I’ll work around the state to promote on behalf of animals and educate people,” Wagner said. “There is a lot of animal abuse and cruelty that happens, the big problem in Montana is puppy mills. Research shows that animal abusers are more than likely to be domestic abusers.”
Wagner said she always wanted to win a pageant and as a little girl her parents used to sing ‘Here she comes, Miss America.’
“This has always been on my bucket list but I never thought it would happen,” she said. “This is a dream come true. It’s great to have pageants for more mature women – we bring life experiences to the table that younger women can’t offer. I will come back next year and crown my successor.”