Hamilton Woman Is ‘Montana’s Super Classic Mrs.’

Story by MICHELLE MCCONNAHA

Justine Wagner is “Montana’s Super Classic Mrs.”

The Hamilton resident has been investing in the community for years. She has been president of the Hamilton Kiwanis, actively involved in their youth-supportive program, and about to begin her term as Lt. Governor for Kiwanis District One for the Montana District of Kiwanis.

Wagner was looking for additional opportunities to be more of a positive presence when she decided pageantry could be the answer — it had been on her bucket list.

“When I was a little girl my mom and dad used to sing to me ‘Here she comes — Miss America’ and when you’re little you think it will never happen,” Wagner said. “When I was growing up I was on the high school drill team and I always wanted to try out for the Radio City Rockettes, but I never did.”

“Montana’s Super Classic Mrs.” Justine Wagner

Wagner said that’s been her one regret in life. Every year, she would watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade just to see the Rockettes. She had thought about being in a pageant and it had just kept coming up in her life.

“Pageantry has been presenting itself to me for many years and I decided ‘yeah, I really want to do this,’ ” Wagner said. “I’d been talking to the pageant director Janet Bierer for about three years and she asked me to judge her pageant in Missoula. After that I decided this was the pageant I wanted to compete for.”

Americas Super Pageant is a personal development opportunity developed by Bierer in memory of her daughter Allanya DaRay Thorning, who died in July 2010. The delegates promote the national platform of “Seat Belt Use and Awareness” with a “Buckle Up” message.

The pageant has age categories and Wagner opted to be in the “Montana’s Super Classic Mrs.” category for 55 and older.

“I wanted a level playing field,” Wagner said. “I’m not a 30-year-old anymore and the young don’t have life experience.”

Wagner will keep her title for a year and compete for the national title next October. She will talk seat belt safety plus her own platform — companion animal abuse and neglect.

“It’s an opportunity for me to make an impact on our four-legged friends,” she said. “My animals are my children, I don’t have human children, so it’s an important piece of me.”

She also will visit schools to talk about seat belt safety, and will work with humane associations throughout Montana.

“Every hour someone dies in America simply because they didn’t take two seconds to buckle up,” she said. “I’ll be talking to people about when you chain your dog to your house 24-hours-a-day and it doesn’t have a house in the winter or in the summer for the heat. It is abuse and neglect. Plus, there is active cruelty and passive cruelty.”

Wagner said the causes have been important to her all her life and believes that one person can make a difference.

“I’m excited about this,” she said. “All those little pieces kept floating down through the air like ash. Pageantry just kept presenting itself. Everyone has their own things and their own dreams.”

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