By CHARLES MELTON
As Megan Hornbuckle enters the last days of her reign as Miss Kitsap 2007, she does so with no regrets, just a treasure chest of priceless memories that will last a lifetime.
“I want to be thought of as the Miss Kitsap that truly loved Kitsap County,” Hornbuckle said. “This is my home no matter how far away I am. All of my education — from start to finish, childhood memories, lifelong relationships and future connections have been found and established here.”
For some, the idea of following in the footsteps of Miss Kitsap 2006 Kristen Eddings, who won the Miss Washington pageant and competed in the Miss America pageant, may have been an awkward proposition, but not for Hornbuckle.
“I deeply admire Kristen, but I also value and embrace my own strengths,” she said. “Each is crowned based on her own identity and worth, not on years previous. I don’t compare myself with others to try to be like them.”
That sense of self-worth and personal identity has grown throughout the past year along with her deep faith.
“My personal experience with this was that I had deeply been discovering who I truly was in previous years,” she said. “I remember praying that night before I was crowned, ‘God, I truly want this. I know you know my heart. Please Lord. This would be such an honor.’”
The title also has brought an increased comfort level with being in the public eye and an awareness of the importance of maintaining a professional appearance and demeanor, she said.
“Having a title and a crown, such a regal position, will change any young woman’s perspective on living like royalty,” she said. “It’s something that you must wear on the inside before it will ever emanate on the outside.”
The past year also has broadened her horizons as she has traveled throughout the county and state as Miss Kitsap, and in particular the Olympic College Foundation luncheon brought the whole picture into focus, she said.
“I was able to meet so many honorable, generous community leaders while being Miss Kitsap,” she said. “That alone has brought an understanding that no matter where I live in my lifetime, I want to be connected with people of this nature and heart.”
Among the other highlights of her reign were receiving more than $10,000 in scholarship money during her three years competing in pageants, emceeing the Olympic College Foundation President’s Circle Dinner, traveling to the Miss Missouri pageant, helping flip pancakes with the Bremerton Central Lions Club at the Armed Forces Day Parade, seeing all of the familiar faces in the crowds at local parades and assisting with numerous other fund-raising events throughout the year.
Going into pageant week, Hornbuckle has a few pieces of advice for the seven ladies vying to succeed her.
“Know who you are — inside and out,” she said. “The title will not make you, and it will only enhance you.”
As for her future plans, Hornbuckle said she will soon be leaving Kitsap County to pursue ministry opportunities.
“I leave very soon to North Carolina where I will be working for a ministry,” she said. “I will be traveling to Holland in May and to England in July to be a part of their worship schools.”
Even as she leaves, Hornbuckle said the Miss Kitsap experience has prepared her for what is to come.
“Being Miss Kitsap has sowed into my continually growing ability to be flexible and adventurous,” Hornbuckle said. “I am excited that I only know the next few steps and can’t wait to see how they will lead to the next path.”
Hornbuckle will pass her crown on to the next Miss Kitsap at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Bremerton High School Performing Arts Center.
Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for seniors and children 12 and younger. Tickets are available at Nilsen’s Appliance Center in Silverdale or at Dahlquist’s Fine Jewelry in Poulsbo Village. For more information or tickets, call Michele Wasson at (360) 689-3553 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.