The Mountain Times

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Janelle Howard of Rutland wins Ms US of America Princess and Miss Congeniality

"At the end of the day it's easy to see this win is not just mine to celebrate. It came from everyone in this town," she said.

RUTLAND - 71 girls from all over the United States took the stage Aug. 10-11 to compete for a $5,000 bond and the title of Miss US of America in Windsor Locks, CT. Janelle Howard, the reigning Ms New England from Rutland, Vt. was among the competitors. She went armed with a goal in mind and her lucky charm given to her by her boss. She would spend four hours Saturday competing in talent, modeling and photogenic competitions. She performed perhaps one of the most unique talents: freestyle jump roping. Janelle Howard has been jumping for several years with the American Heart Association and performing in schools across New England to help encourage kids to stay fit while having fun.
On Sunday, awards were announced. Janelle won in talent, photogenic and the national title for Ms US of America Princess. She would also be voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants!
"There's no compliment bigger than knowing the girls you have spent the last weekend getting to know think so highly of you. It is truly an honor and privilege to be acknowledged in such a way," Howard said.
Janelle Howard was also very thankful for all the support she received locally. A portion of the money she raised to compete was, in turn, donated to St Jude's Children's Hospital.
"My boss, John Waldron, gave me the time off and helped sponsor this dream of mine… he even gave me a good luck charm moments before I left. It must have worked!"
Howard trusted Trace of Lace bridal boutique to help her find the perfect gown for each level of competition. "Trace of Lace has sponsored my gowns and helped pick the perfect dress that got me the crown each time. I wouldn't be here with out their expertise and professionalism. The words thank you will never be enough."
Carris Reels, Sundaze tanning and Ropix shoes also helped Janelle along the way.
"Carris Reels is special to me in so many ways. I play on their mud volleyball team every year with my best friends, which are really more like family. We spend a day in the mud to help raise money and awareness for the epilepsy foundation… They are a business that really thinks about others and tries to help anyone and everyone."
Janelle says it was a combination of things that helped bring her success. From the pair of Ropix shoes that were specifically designed for her jump rope routine, to the jewelry (thanks to Sue Huff), to hair done by local hair stylist Bizit of Avanti, and so many more.
"At the end of the day it's easy to see this win is not just mine to celebrate. It came from everyone in this town," she said. "It's like we are all one big team and bringing home this win is a way of saying thank you for believing in me."