Applications are now being taken for contestants in the 2004 edition of Ms. Wheelchair Iowa. State coordinator Judy Hoit explains the types of women who are encouraged to apply.They’re looking for women who use wheelchairs to get around, between the ages of 21 and 60. They must be U.S. citizens, can be single or married and should be good public speakers. Hoit says it’s not a beauty pageant. The contestants are judged on their achievements and accomplishments since the onset of the disability. She explains what the winner will do for the next year. She will travel the state making public appearances in events like parades and at schools, civic gatherings and in churches, wherever people may want to become more aware about people with disabilities. Hoit, a polio survivor who is in a wheelchair herself, says people in wheelchairs need to be judged by their abilities, not their disabilities.The deadline to enter is March 12th. For information, call Hoit at (319) 351-8375. The new Ms. Wheelchair Iowa will be named April 10th in Iowa City. The winner goes on to the national pageant in Richmond, Virginia, in late July. The current titleholder, Debi Scharf of Altoona, was first runner-up in last year’s national competition.
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