The deadline is in a few weeks for Iowa women to apply to become the state’s chief spokeswoman for people with disabilities. Contestants for the title “Ms. Wheelchair Iowa” need to use a wheelchair for mobility. They must be Iowa residents, between the ages of 21 and 60, and be good public speakers.

Judy Hoit is a polio survivor from Iowa City and is the program’s state coordinator. Hoit was Iowa’s first Ms. Wheelchair titleholder in 1996. She says the new Ms. Wheelchair Iowa will address audiences across the state in schools, churches and civic groups about the many -abilities- of people who are in wheelchairs.

The current Iowa titleholder is Shonnae Lundy of Des Moines. Hoit says contestants shouldn’t be scared by the word “pageant” as it’s not a beauty contest, adding, the women are judged more on enthusiasm, not appearance. Contestants are judged on their achievements and accomplishments since the onset of their disability. The national pageant, Ms. Wheelchair America, opens July 30th in Little Rock, Arkansas. The state contest is March 4th in Iowa City. The deadline to apply is February 3rd. For more information, call (319) 351-8375 or send e-mail to “[email protected]”.