Samantha Edwards, of Marshalltown, Miss Wheelchair Iowa 2010.

The deadline is nearing for Iowa women to apply to compete in the 15th annual Ms. Wheelchair Iowa program. State coordinator Judy Hoit says the woman who will be crowned next month will become the state’s spokesperson for people with disabilities, while creating a platform to advocate for something about which she feels passionate.

Qualifications include: a U.S. Citizen between the ages of 21 and 60 who uses a wheelchair for 100% of her daily mobility. She must also enjoy travel and making public appearances. Hoit notes, it’s not a beauty contest. Each woman is judged based on her achievements and accomplishments since the onset of the disability. Hoit was Iowa’s first Ms. Wheelchair in 1996.

“It’s really a life-changing experience because of the appearances they make and the people they meet,” Hoit says. The Iowa winner will represent the state at the 39th annual Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant to be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the first week in August. Hoit says she will get the chance to meet other inspiring women from across the country while making life-long friends.

The Iowa pageant will be on Saturday, March 26th, in Iowa City and the deadline to register is March 4th. To get an application or nominate someone, contact Hoit at (319) 351-8375 or visit the website: