MWUSA

On this page you will find information for the 2021 Ms. Wheelchair USA competitions, tickets, voting for People’s Choice Award, and the Pay-Per-View link to watch the LIVE competitions from your home! Scroll down to read the MWUSA Story, and learn about the national platforms.

2021 Ms. Wheelchair USA…A Rock ‘n Roll Rodeo!

The 2021 Ms. Wheelchair USA national competition will be held July 10-18, 2021 in Northeast, Ohio. Contestants will participate in a week of exciting activities, appearances, media events and, of course, rehearsals for the on-stage competitions to win the title of Ms. Wheelchair USA!

Tickets go on sale Jun 15, 2021 at 11am EST.  On-stage competitions are Friday, July 16 and Saturday, July 17, 2021.  Doors open at 6pm EST and shows are open to the public. Orchestra seating is $35 and Reserved Seating is $30 per seat, each night.

Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and can be purchased by clicking here

Dani Rice wonders who will be the winner of this year’s People’s Choice Award?

THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Who do you think should be the next Ms. Wheelchair USA?

Ms. Wheelchair USA is held in Ohio every July, but only one winner can take home the Ms. Wheelchair USA title. This is your chance to vote for your choice to win the title of Ms. Wheelchair USA. The People’s Choice Award is given to the woman that receives the most votes via donations to The Dane Foundation. The Dane Foundation, the presenting organization of Ms. Wheelchair USA, provides for the unique needs of individuals with physical and developmental disabilities. The organization has a special mandate to provide programs, like Ms. Wheelchair USA, that promote understanding, acceptance, and awareness of individuals with disabilities.  Vote for your favorite contestant for the People’s Choice title. Each vote is a $5 donation to The Dane Foundation that will help support Project Elf and other services of The Dane Foundation. Voting opens on June 15 and closes at 8:30pm EST on July 17, right before the crowning of the new Ms. Wheelchair USA.  A $5 vote for your favorite contestant will get her one step closer to the title of the People’s Choice for Ms. Wheelchair USA.  In addition, your donation will help The Dane Foundation continue to serve individuals with physical and developmental disabilities.  When you donate $5 it can purchase quality-of-life items for an individual with disabilities, or provide a Santa Make-It & Take-It bag during Project Elf to the children served.

How Can I Vote?

You can text your vote to 44321 and in the message you will type the abbreviation for Ms. Wheelchair USA (MWUSA) and the abbreviation for the state or region for which you want to cast your vote.

Example: a text vote for Ms. Wheelchair Ohio USA  would be a text to the number 44321 and in the message you would type MWUSAOH.

You can also click on the link(s) below to place your vote for your favorite contestant! Vote as many times as you like!

2021 CANDIDATES & NATIONAL FINALISTS FOR MS. WHEELCHAIR USA!

ALABAMA – MICHELE MILLER

CALIFORNIA – CANDY KAYNE

NEW JERSEY – BETH KELLEY

NORTHERN USA – JOCI SCOTT

NORTH CAROLINA – HANNA CADDELL

PENNSYLVANIA – AMANDA MCCOY

SOUTH CAROLINA – ASHLEY LAWRENCE

SOUTHWESTERN – KENDA FELKER

TEXAS – WHITNEY LAVENDER

VIRGINIA – AMBER SISON

WASHINGTON – ERICA MYRON

THE MS. WHEELCHAIR USA STORY

The pageant world boasts more than 4,600 pageant competitions, but only two for women with disabilities that impair their mobility. Ms. Wheelchair USA is very different from the other “disability-based” pageants.  In the traditional spirit of pageantry, Ms. Wheelchair USA recognizes that all women, despite any disability, can be beautiful, glamorous, and can exhibit self-confidence in personal, professional, and public life. The women of Ms. Wheelchair USA are exciting, proud of themselves, and their accomplishments. They actively contribute to the betterment of our families, communities, and world.

Ms. Wheelchair USA has been going and growing strong since it was founded in 1997 by Ms. Lowery D. Lockard. Ms. Lockard believed that glamorous pageantry must be afforded to all women. By

Lowery D. Lockard, Creating Social Responsibility Through Entertainment & Service

providing a stage like Miss America and other well-known “beauty” pageants, she has led the charge for women with disabilities to garner opportunities for themselves, while also laying a unique foundation for disability awareness and understanding. In the beginning, the pageant was an Ohio resident only competition. The event was so successful, that people came from all over the country to watch the competition, and encouraged its expansion. Since it wasn’t fitting to have a Ms. Wheelchair Ohio USA from Kentucky or California, the national Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant was born. Its mission, “to promote glamour, self-confidence and community service; celebrating the achievements of women with disabilities.”

Dani Rice, Ms. Wheelchair USA 2020-2021

Some subscribe to the theory that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. According to the Ms. Wheelchair USA organization, beauty is found amongst women with disabilities that have overcome unforeseen obstacles, yet continue to offer help, encouragement, and understanding.  They not only care for themselves, but believe that turning their personal storms into stories, can and will impact the world in a unique way. Women who utilize wheelchairs or other adaptive devices participate in this program, using it as a mechanism to promote the possibilities for, and the abilities of women; especially those with disabilities.

Competitions begin with the selection of state and regional representatives, judged and selected through submission of an application package. Winners then move forward to compete in a ten-day event each July held in Northeast, Ohio. There is no age limit or marital status requirement to compete. The youngest participants are eighteen years old, while the oldest, to date, seventy-two-years-amazing! Unlike other disability-based pageants, contestants must have a mobility issue, but may have use of their legs. The Ms. Wheelchair USA program does not discourage ability, but instead celebrates the individuality of the women who wear the MWUSA crowns.

Kate Matelan, Ms. Wheelchair USA 2009 crowns the winner Phaedra Olsen in 2010

The national titleholder is crowned following a week of activities, programs, learning sessions, press appearances, many rehearsals, and three nights of live on-stage production numbers and competitions. Contestants compete in private interview, round-robin interviews, evening wear, on-stage interview, platform presentation, and marketing statement competitions.

Other ancillary competitions include Ms. Photogenic, Ms. Congeniality, The Dane Foundation Quality of Life Award, The Georgia Hudson-Smith Quest for Knowledge award, and several other awards that celebrate a variety of

Erica Myron wins Ms Congeniality as Ms. Wheelchair Arizona USA

attributes. The winners of Ms. Wheelchair USA competitions spend their year on a state, regional and national level representing The Dane Foundation, the Ms. Wheelchair USA program, MWUSA national platforms,and a contestant’s own platform issue or activity. There are four national platforms or tenants of the pageant including the accessibility of travel, boundless playgrounds, representation of individuals with disabilities in the media, and conceptual beauty. For the new Ms. Wheelchair USA, the event culminates with a national speaking and appearance tour based on the pageant’s tenants, and on the winner’s own selected platform issue.  Of course there is a custom designed crown, banner, a management contract, and a prize package of gifts, gadgets, and opportunities.

    In addition to the Ms. Wheelchair USA state, regional, and national competitions, the organization offers an ongoing menu of pageantry and service programs. There is the MWUSA Little Brother & Sister program for children with and without disabilities, and a year-round volunteer service programs for all ages. For contestants and titleholders, there is a Ms. Wheelchair USA Ambassador program, and a budding Ms. Wheelchair International competition. In addition to pageantry, MWUSA contestants that want to share their faith and testimony can participate in Crowns-4-Christ – The Unbroken Tour, a faith-based testimonial and inspirational touring show. Pageant-to-Purpose is open to all MWUSA titleholders. This program creates an alliance among the many winners of Ms. Wheelchair USA and its extended family. It’s designed to promote collaboration about on-going, purpose driven, projects and to enhance the contestant’s personal and professional growth.  All of these ancillary opportunities continue promoting and growing MWUSA and The Dane Foundation after the actual pageant competitions are concluded.  

   The Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant is presented by The Dane Foundation, a nonprofit, 501C3 company with a mission of providing for “the unique needs of individuals with physical and developmental disabilities.” The program is supported by donations, organizational and corporate sponsorships, contestant entry fees, donations and volunteer services. Applications open the day after the national competition concludes, and winners reign for about one year passing their titles to the next winners September 1 of their competition year.

MWUSA NATIONAL PLATFORMS

Ms. Wheelchair USA has four national service platforms that the organization believes are important to the quality-of-lives of women with disabilities. These national platforms are, in addition to the actual mission and business of the pageant, a focus of importance to the Ms. Wheelchair USA organization.  Each issue is an area that the founder, contestants, volunteers, and organization believe are important toward improving the lives of women with disabilities. The national platforms include:

The SOAR accessible and boundless playground in Stow, Ohio

Accessible & Boundless Playgrounds

Accessible and boundless playgrounds provide a unique area for children with disabilities so they can play and enjoy social interaction with other children; playing without boundaries that could hinder mobility, sound, sight, and other sensory functions.  These special playgrounds also provide an opportunity for parents or grandparents with disabilities to be able to participate in play with their children that may or may not have disabilities.

Accessible & Boundless Playgrounds

The playgrounds are designed with ramps between and on play equipment, padded and solid grounds under all equipment, paved sidewalks around the playground, to and from parking,  wheelchair and accessible swings, braille to allow for directional play, sensory items to encourage and comfort children with disabilities like deafness or autism, and other accommodations that are built into the playground to make the site boundless for any child or adult with disabilities. Accessible and boundless playgrounds are a platform of MWUSA to encourage the renovation of current play sites, and ensure that new sites are always built with these considerations.

Accessible Travel & Wheelchair Treatment

Anyone who has traveled that uses a mobility device, especially those needing a wheelchair or scooter, has probably already experienced the many horrors associated with air travel.  Wheelchairs are lost or damaged beyond repa

Dave from Miller’s Rental & Sales, a MWUSA partner, attempted to repair Dani’s chair that was mangled by an airline…there was irreparable damage and the chair had to be completely replaced.

ir as they are mishandled by airline ground crews.  Individuals with disabilities are often embarrassed and physically mishandled as they are forced to transfer from their own fitted chairs, to an airline “isle” chair, then strapped in by a stranger, making the individual appear to look like they are Hannibal Lector in a scene from Silence of the Lambs! Individuals with disabilities may load an airplane first, but they are forced to wait until the last passenger leaves the plane before they can exit the aircraft; again waiting for the Lector chair to exit.  If they have a transfer in an airport, airport staff will leave individuals in the Lector or drug store chair and they are incapable of moving the chairs on their own because the do not have self-propelling wheels to allow personal movement.   Basically, airline travel especially, is a nightmare if you have a mobility issue that requires wheelchair use.  It is a platform focus of MWUSA to work with airlines and airports to improve accessibility, train crew to handle wheelchairs properly, understand the importance of a “personal” wheelchair, and teach disability awareness and understanding.

Conceptual Beauty

The concept of beauty is often “in the eye of the beholder.”  According to the Ms. Wheelchair USA program, all women, even those with disabilities, are beautiful, glamorous and can be confident in themselves at all times.

Yvette Pegues, Ms. Wheelchair USA 2014

A disability should never hinder the “concept” of beauty for a woman or any individual.  Conceptual Beauty is a platform focus of MWUSA to present all women with disabilities in their own concept of what is beautiful for them.  Whether their concept of beauty is jeans, a t-shirt, and a ponytail with no makeup or makeup, false eyelashes, and heels six inches high, all are beautiful with no restriction or “rules” because a woman has a disability.  Regardless of what the “eye” may see, women with disabilities deserve to be treated respectfully, and should have the same opportunity to feel and look beautiful…just like any other woman.

Representation of Individuals with Disabilities in the Media

More often than not when you see a character in a movie that has a disability, that actor does not have a disability…they are acting.  Why can’t actors and actresses with disabilities get those parts?  Why, when a societal issue is being discussed in the media, do we not learn how the issue affects individuals with disabilities?  How many newscasters do you see on TV with disabilities? Representation of individuals with disabilities in multi-media is a national platform of Ms. Wheelchair USA with the goal of increasing the opportunities for people with disabilities to work in media and entertainment. Actors and Actresses with disabilities should have the opportunity to play characters with disabilities and those without disabilities. We want these people with disabilities in the industry to be seen for their talent, and have fair opportunities to gain roles and jobs in multi-media, film, and television shows.

Ms. Wheelchair USA    330.612.5242     Info@MsWheelchairUSA.org

PO Box 124  Cuyahoga Falls, OH  44222