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In Search Of...Miss Wisconsin

By Jennifer Livingston, jlivingston@wkbt.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:46:30 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 11 2013 02:08:36 PM CST

Kirk Arneson

Miss Wisconsin 2012 Kate Gorman

LA CROSSE, Wis. -

"It was the most surreal moment."

Kate Gorman's recollection of the moment she was crowned Miss Wisconsin is still a little fuzzy. "I don't remember this but I just dropped to the ground and had to take it in."

After all, she didn't grow up dreaming of being a beauty queen. "I was staring at college with no way to pay for it."

At 18 years old in 2007 she decided to give the Miss Onalaska pageant a try. "I went into it just hoping to gain some interview skills, gain some scholarship dollars. And to just push myself. And I ended up winning. From that moment on I was hooked. I was bitten by the pageant bug."

Her next title came In 2011 when Kate joined the Oktoberfest royal family as Miss La Crosse.  "It's amazing how God puts people into your life. I was blessed with a new family at the hardest time of my life."

"I won Miss La Crosse Oktoberfest and the night of the Festmasters ball my cousin found out she had stage four breast cancer."

Her cousin Elizabeth Melde was spotlighted on News 8 before she lost her battle on Easter of last year. A loss that is still so painful today. "My family, We miss her so much. She was that one percent of people. She lived life differently. And you knew it from the moment you met her. She had so much strength. Honestly we witnessed how one woman can motivate and entire community to live better. Her legacy will always live on."

On top of that emotional pain, Kate has also had to deal with a physical one as well that almost cost her the Miss Wisconsin title.  "Six weeks before the competition I was practicing my dance and I went up for a side leap and severely injured my hip. And found out I had torn the labrum in my hip. So I had to drastically dumb down my tap routine.  What I had to do was give everything I had. I left in on the stage. Yes I was in pain - but I did it."

But she couldn't do it any more, at least not without surgery. "And there just frankly wasn't enough time to recover."

But to compete in the Miss America pageant you have to showcase a talent and unable to dance, she shifted her focus to singing. "There's so many instances in life when it give you lemons and you make lemonade. We faces the music in a great way. I also love singing too, it's just a fear that I've had to overcome. Completely switching gears four months before the biggest job interview in my life is kind of scary. I can't wait to showcase my talent on the Miss America stage."

It's been a bit of a whirlwind in the 7 months she's been crowned. "My job as Miss Wisconsin is to travel four to five days a week and fulfill my public appearances."

Which includes promoting her platform of 'Taking a healthy bite out of childhood hunger.' "And then my other job is to prepare for the Miss America contest."

And that is a full time job in itself. Each week she does a mock interview to prepare for the questions she might be asked. Then there's The talent prep, the countless dress fittings, not to mention getting her body ready for the swimsuit competition. "I feel better than I've ever felt. I feel strong, healthy, but I'm nervous to display that to the world."

But whether Kate walks away with the title or not, the truth is she feels like she already won. "There's no lose in this situation. Whether I get the title of Miss America or not, it's been amazing. It's been a ride. I am so blessed to be in this position.   I never imagined I'd get here and it's been such a blessing."

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