(Originally Posted by Creeping Jennie on Wednesday, 06 May 2015 in Sturgis.com Blogs)
I decided to wait to write about the contest until its conclusion. I have had a lot to digest regarding the whole event, and wanted to wait until I was able to present the story properly.
As you know, I had made it to the semifinals, and then bought the dreaded garment that torments the souls of many women over 30. I was convinced that the judges somehow made a horrible mistake, or perhaps had only passed me through to the next round in an attempt to punish me for being my annoying self. Hey, it's plausible.
It was difficult deciding on what I was going to wear for the semifinals. I knew that there would be three rounds- the biker wear round, the Buffalo Chip booty shorts and tank top round, and the bikini round. We were told that the booty shorts and tank tops would be provided for us, and I had already decided on the bikini, so only had to come up with a biker wear outfit. I chose to wear my high heel booties, fishnets, a black pleated skirt, and a leather halter top. My friend Chan also made it to the semifinals, and we planned to make it a great night.
I stressed. How was I going to put on a bikini in front of all of these people? How can I leave myself open to the criticism, judgement, and hurtful comments that were sure to come? I really didn't have anything to prove, and I didn't want any prize enough to justify the humiliation that I was sure I would endure. However, I'm a stubborn little bitch. If there is the possibility that someone is trying to get the best of me, I will fight. I went back and forth over this all month. Do I give it my all, knowing that there is no way I will win this, or do I half ass this whole thing? I briefly considered the "fuck this shit" approach- showing up and giving asshole answers to the questions, getting really drunk and being an asshole. That's not me, and I don't want to make things difficult for anyone who was organizing or seriously participating in the competition. I'm a bitch, not a cunt. I decided to give it a true shot.
I heard word that they needed campers and RVs for the contestants to use as changing rooms, as the bar where the event was held did not have such facilities capable of accommodating so many women at one time. My husband was happy to drive our converted school bus RV to Spearfish for this purpose. It was time to de-winterize it, clean it up, and get it out for a run anyway.
Chan and her man, and me and mine piled into the bus, and headed up to Spearfish. When we arrived, we went inside the bar. I was terrified. A few girls had already arrived. We were instructed to sign in, and were issued the Buffalo Chip tank tops and undies. More girls were coming in, and the first group of us were given a briefing on what to expect, and what was expected of us. We were told to mingle, be social, and have fun. I knew that if I couldn't rock a bikini, I could at least rock the social aspect. By this point I was beginning to notice the one thing I was so afraid of- I was getting some serious side eye.
Women know very well that the appraising, disdainful scans over another woman are painful. They do this to hurt, and I was getting a few. The women who rolled their eyes, looked at me like I was something the cat coughed up, and smirked when I spoke looked amazing. They were hot, and they knew it, and they needed me to know my place, which was clearly beneath them. I have found that the best thing to do in this situation is to be sweet and kind, and don't play their bitch game. That's a game that no one wins. I mingled, made new friends, and had a good time. I spread the word that the bus was available to change in, but no one seemed interested.
Soon we were called to have photos taken. We were lined up and told to watch the girl in front of us. It would be quick, as there were a lot of girls to get through. Indeed it was quick- three poses, a total of four photos taken, sign the iPad, and it was time for the next girl to have a turn.
After the photos were done, we had a few minutes to mingle and then it was time to start. We were divided into groups, given a number, and lined up. I was scared to death. Once I stepped on to the stage, my fear disappeared. When my turn on the stage was finished, we lined up below the stage to have a group picture taken. After that, we had to change for the next round. Chan and I ran out to the bus and changed into out tank tops and booty shorts- aka underwear- adjusted out hair and makeup, and raced back inside the building. Between rounds we endeavored to enjoy ourselves. We drank beer, danced, and got to know some of the other contestants and their friends. The process was the same for all three rounds.
At the end of the bikini round, I was sure that I was not going to the finals. We ran to the bus and changed out of our bikinis. When we came back in, we were told to go get our bikinis back on, just in case we were called up. SIGH. Ok, we ran back outside and put on our bikinis, and I threw on a sundress over that. Chan and I sat back down at the table, and waited for our names to NOT be announced. When they called Jennie S as a finalist, I was dumbfounded. I dropped my dress right there, standing in shock in my bikini. We were then paraded into the back, and given another briefing, and then lined up on a staircase for more group photos.
I spent the next week freaking out, alternately optimistic, then discouraged. How the hell did I get to the finals? Surely there are more attractive, more deserving, YOUNGER women. I was sure that if anything, I would get a photo as a souvenir of this experience.
*This paragraph removed due to online harassment and bullying. Apparently, if one does not have a pleasant experience with a business, one must never mention it, or be accused of slander, and must endure harassment. Also, if someone other than the blog author posts a comment stating his opinion, it is assumed that the author of the blog penned those remarks, not the person making the comment. At least that's what I have learned from this. My apologies to all who felt compelled to harass me.*
Over the week, I made facebook friends with some of the other contestants. I was really hoping that they were the stereotypical vapid, fake, demanding, Barbie doll primadonnas that I had envisioned. I was wrong! All of the finalists are real women! Hard working, intelligent, articulate, kind, and full of personality. Every time one of my friends commented that I was a "real" woman, implying that the others were not, I bristled. It also made me feel terrible about myself. I had judged these women before I got to know them. That's so wrong of me, and I'm very sorry. I certainly learned a lesson.
It dawned on me that these women are the total package. I'm not. What in the hell am I even doing in this contest? I'm just a nothing.
The day of the contest came. I made plans to go hang out with one of the girls at her hotel room. I was expecting a room packed with beautiful girls, primping and preening and laughing. Nope, just me and one girl. Another girl showed up later, and I caught a ride with them to the venue. We signed in at the bar, and were led back to a beauty salon that was in the back of the bar. I plopped my things down in a spot, and then went back into the bar to look for a beer. My husband was there! Yay!
We were given instructions again, and before I had a chance to finish my hamburger, it was time to start. Again with the three rounds, and pictures after each one. We danced, we mingled, and we laughed. I was thrilled that so many of my friends had showed up to cheer me on! (I have the absolute BEST friends in the whole world, by the way!)
Somewhere along the line the other girls were given beers from our sponsor. I didn't get one. The beer girls did hand one to someone who wasn't competing. Interesting. I reached over on their table and grabbed a koozie to put over my glass. I was drinking the sponsor's product, but I had to pay for it.
At one point, the Buffalo Chip people brought in pizza for us girls. Since I had only been able to eat half of my burger and a quarter of my fries, and I was drinking beer, I ate a slice. Being the fattest, oldest contestant daring to actually eat a slice of pizza while in a bikini, the promo girls' eyes were rolling, and they were scoffing. I am glad I couldn't hear what they were whispering about me. I found their disdain for my body and being to be as delicious as the pizza and beer I was enjoying. OMNOMNOM, bitch.
At one point we were dancing, and I saws that the dance floor was a bit too crowded. I jumped up on the stage and shook my fat ass. Everyone thought that was a great idea, and they joined me. You can't say I don't know how to have fun.
Before I knew it, the winners were announced. I was not at all surprised that I wasn't one of them, and I was absolutely fine with that. I changed into a long skirt and red top, and mingled with friends. Over the course of the night, many people approached me, telling me that they loved my look, thought it was great that I competed, and told me I should/should have won. It was very flattering, and I was honored to be a part of it all.
I can't compliment the Buffalo Chip staff enough. Throughout this whole contest, they have been nothing but wonderful, supportive, kind, and respectful. I would like to thank Woody, Carol, Greg, Nyla, and all of the people whose faces I know, but names I do not, for this amazing opportunity. I am honored to have been chosen to ride this terrific roller coaster. Thank you. And Woody, if you are reading this, I would love to talk to you for my book. I will see you in August.