Search for Mrs. Ohio begins

MARIETTA – Single ladies need not apply.

Until the end of March, married women of all ages across the county are encouraged to participate in the Mrs. Washington County.

The winner of Mrs. Washington County is eligible for the Mrs. Ohio competition. At the state competition, there are swag bags worth $400 to $500. The winner of Mrs. Ohio will receive $15,000 worth of prizes and services.

Deadline to enter is March 31. All pertinent documentation has to be in by May 1, Emily Stark, director of the pageant, said. Stark is the director for both the Ohio and Colorado pageants.

“Hopefully she’ll be found within the month of March so we can get her ready to compete in the month of June,” she said.

Stark said all it takes to enter the competition is a phone call to her office and free information will be sent out. Stark said it’s not totally free to enter.

“There are fees,” she said. “Most of the time women (cover the cost) through sponsorships. Businesses (who help) get recognition in the program book.”

The turnaround for being chosen as Mrs. Washington County is going to be quick, Stark said.

“The decision is made pretty much within a week of submitting the application,” she said.

Criteria for picking a winner consists of a committee evaluating the application. Stark said the application includes questions about community involvement, background and education. She said all applications are considered in awarding the title.

Those hoping to see the competition can start watching the Mrs. Ohio website in May, when tickets will go on sale.

Winning the Mrs. Ohio competition is based on three things: It is 50 percent based on an interview, 25 percent on a bathing suit competition and 25 percent on an evening gown competition.

The reigning Mrs. Ohio Teri Grothaus, of Columbus Grove in Northwest Ohio, competed in Mrs. Ohio five times before winning the crown.

“The reason I kept coming back is it was such an amazing weekend,” she said.

The application entails general questions and submitting a biography. Stark said there are differences between the Mrs. Ohio and other pageants like Miss America.

“The women in this competition, we’re all married,” she said. “We’re at a very different place in our lives.”

The only stipulations to compete are that the contestants must be married, at least 18, and work or live in Washington County. Stark said at the state competition in Colorado a daughter, mother and grandmother competed together.

“(The grandmother) was 87-years old and it was such an amazing experience,” she said.

Stark said the benefits of competing in the competition are many.

“Mrs. America and Mrs. Ohio are really good friends now,” Stark said. “They built a solid friendship. Yes, the prizes are great, and it’s great to have someone do your hair and makeup. There are perks all over the place, but I think the friendships are the biggest.”

Grothaus said the competition is a great way for a woman to find herself.

“As married women, a lot of times we lose ourselves. t’s a great way to really do something for you and have your own personal growth,” she said. “It’s a great experience. Why not take the chance?”