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The Miss America Organization sent six former Miss Americas, a former Miss Utah and the chairman of the board to visit our men and women serving in Afghanistan.  And for those adventurous women, it doesn’t matter how old you are, when adventure and duty call, they’re up for it.  From  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”From “>BeBe Shopp, Miss America 1948 who is 80 to Ericka Dunlap, Miss America 2004 who is in her late 20’s and is currently appearing on The Amazing Race with her husband, they exhibit an intrepid spirit and an inner fortitude.  The following is quoted from a press release issued by the Miss America Organization.

Miss America 1985 Sharlene Wells, Miss America 1948  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=””>BeBe Shopp, Miss America 1995 Heather Whitestone, Miss America 1981 Susan Powell, Miss America 1999 Nicole Johnson, Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap and Miss America Organization Chairman of the Board, Sam Haskell, III are returning home from Afghanistan where they met thousands of U.S. and coalition troops.  Traveling along with our Miss Americas and Board Chairman was Miss Utah 2007 Jill Stevens Sheperd, a former combat medic deployed to Afghanistan in 2004-2005, and a Miss America finalist in 2007.



 Our six wonderful Miss Americas, Sam and Jill just spent the most amazing four days in Afghanistan after two days in Kuwait at Ali Al Salem Air Force Base where they met Wing Commander John R. Gordy and his staff.  They flew into Bagram Air Force Base last Thursday on an impressive C17 Cargo plane along with 150 soldiers and crew!

To begin their journey, they were fitted with bullet proof armor vests and helmets weighing 50 pounds each.  All of the Miss Americas, including 80 years young BeBe Shopp, carried their own armor.  Then they flew off via helicopters all over Afghanistan and other forward operating bases (FOBs), camps, including Command Central in New Kabul where they met personally with Major General John MacDonald and Lieutenant General Daniel Rodriguez. 


While in Afghanistan, Sam gave out over 500 copies of his book, Promises I Made My Mother to the soldiers, and one to each of the Generals.  The soldiers welcomed Sam and were thrilled to receive his book as their special gift that touched so many as a reminder of home. 

 Our Miss Americas brought cheers, laughter and even tears to our brave soldiers serving abroad. 

We are so proud to have had our Miss Americas, Sam and Jill travel to Afghanistan on such an important mission and so proudly represent America. We pray for their safe return to the U.S. and we send our thoughts and prayers for those serving our country so proudly, we salute our soldiers!”


There they were, dead last in the wasabi bomb eating contest and next to last, herding ducks, but persistence and a nothing-will-stop-us attitude win out every time.  Ericka Dunlap, Miss America 2004 and her husband, Brian Kleinschmidt, are contestants on the Amazing Race this season.  And in both of those instances they managed to pull it out, arriving sixth out of eleven at the Shrine in Tokyo after Brian’s eye-watering challenge and tenth on the boat after Ericka did her duck whispering.  They’re clearly in it for the long haul.

I interviewed Ericka for my award winning book, Pretty Smart: Lessons from our Miss Americas and found her to be smart, funny and ready to take on any challenge.   She’s up for this one!

Ericka has always lived her life with a can-do attitude and her competitive nature was in full evidence during the show.  Brian and Ericka talk about how the Yin/Yang symbol which represents two total opposites coming together to accomplish a goal, reflects their relationship.  Each has different skills and strengths that complement each other and together make a synergistic whole.  Their determination to make the final three so that they can race to the finish line will fuel their determination through the most challenging moments over the next several weeks. We’ll be watching and hoping they make it all the way to the finish line. 

 The Amazing Race is clearly part of main stream American culture when the Wall Street Journal does a recap of Episode 1!

 Here’s a video of Ericka and Brian talking about their upcoming experience and their relationship.

Meet Amazing Race 15 Cast Members Ericka Dunlap and Brian Kleinschmidt : Reality TV, Game Show, Talk Show, News – All Things Unscripted Social Network Casting Community

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