Tech student crowned Miss Dixie Stockshow

By Breanne Pittman

Louisiana Tech student Kelly Cole was crowned Miss Dixie Stockshow 2023 — and this was her very first pageant.

Cole first heard about the pageant after a group of moms insisted she register for the pageant after they watched her sing at the 2023 Miss Louisiana Tech pageant.

“These moms told me the date, where it was, how to register and all of the bits and pieces in between,” Cole said.

Cole never saw herself as someone who would do pageants, but as the pageant industry made a shift to represent all women in 2018, Cole decided to take the stage.

“I have always been interested in competing but never felt that it was available to me due to the stereotype around ‘pageant queens’ of being only thin, gorgeous women who never eat pizza,” Cole said. “But in 2018, when the organization made a push to give all women the opportunity to compete by removing the swimsuit portion of the competition, I felt like it gave women like me the opportunity to showcase that we are more than our bodies.”

Cole took the encouragement from those around her to take a step outside of her comfort zone.

“I felt emboldened by the women around me who encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and help the little girl inside of me that dreams do come true,” Cole said.

Miss Louisiana Tech 2023 Chanley Patterson was excited to cheer on her childhood friend as the two grew up together doing theatre together at Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts in Monroe.

“I have always known Kelly as extremely talented and driven,” Patterson said. “It was a sweet experience to finally watch her shine and showcase that talent and hard work in the pageant setting. She is very deserving.”

Within a week’s time span, Cole found an evening gown and prepared for each area of the competition, but had zero expectation of actually winning. Before the crowning, her mother even made sure Cole had realistic expectations.

“While sitting backstage with my mom, we both agreed before crowning that I probably was not going to win, but I honestly had no intention of winning, just to have fun and make a new memory in 2023,” Cole said.

When Cole was crowned as Miss Dixie Stockshow 2023, she could not believe it.

“When they called my name and crowned me, I think my heart burst out of my chest. I could not believe it,” Cole said. “I knew that I had done the best that I could in all areas of the competition… but there were so many other talented and experienced women competing with me that it did not seem realistic.”

Cole will use her title to represent Beyond the Dawn: Promoting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital while also encouraging girls and young women to chase after their dreams.

“No matter how crazy your dream may seem, chase after it because you may get a crown out of it,” Cole said.

Now, Cole will join Patterson among others to compete for Miss Louisiana in June 2023.

“I love that we are representing Louisiana Tech in this manner,” Patterson said. “It is such a wonderful representation of the university… and I am just so proud of Kelly and expectant of what all the Lord will do in her life this year.”