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Miss Wyoming USA and Miss Wyoming Teen USA prepare for their year of service

 2023 Miss Wyoming USA & Miss Teen Wyoming USA
Future Productions, LLC
2023 Miss Wyoming USA Beck Bridger (left) and Miss Wyoming Teen USA Victoria Salas (right) after being announced as winners of their respective titles on May 13 in Gillette.

Miss Wyoming USA Beck Bridger and Miss Wyoming Teen USA Victoria Salas are preparing for their year of service after being crowned last month in Gillette.

Bridger, 27, is from Sheridan and is a sergeant in the Wyoming Army National Guard. Every contestant has to choose a platform, which is an issue that they chose to focus on and bring attention to during their year-long tenure. Bridger chose the Warrior Women Project. It’s designed to offer support, tips, tricks, and answer questions for women entering the military. She said she wanted to compete for Miss Wyoming USA to find more opportunities to advocate for women in the military.

“I know from my own experience, I had so many questions regarding feminine products, hygiene products, how I could make my hair look when I go to basic combat training,” Bridger said. “I felt that I didn't really have female to female guidance before I had shipped out… I am targeting females that are in that limbo before they leave to basic combat training just so that they can feel a sense of community and belonging when they get to training.”

Since being crowned in May, Bridger will have her first official role as titleholder at Little America in Cheyenne on June 3. She’ll also perform the national anthem at an event.

“I love having this title already and I'm just creating and bullet listing all the appearances I would love to make. But I think the ones I'm looking forward to the most have to be some of the parades because they're just really fun and it’s a great opportunity for community engagement,” Bridger said. “I'm really excited to push the Warrior Woman Project. I have some really exciting things in store for this, and so I'm really looking forward to partnering with some of the females around the state of Wyoming who were also soldiers so that I can continue to evolve and build this project.”

In addition to her platform in helping women prepare for the military, Bridger hopes to advocate for those in pageantry as well.

Miss Wyoming Teen Victoria Salas, 18, is from Evanston and just finished her senior year of high school. She said her path to competing for her title came about after looking at social media posts about pageantry.

Salas’s platform deals with helping non-English speaking students feel comfortable in school while learning English, a position she was once in. She was held back a year in second grade due to difficulties in learning English.

“I like helping them [elementary students] with their math and their reading. I like helping them…see [them] grow throughout the year, because I've been doing this for around four years, been going to [North] elementary school [in Evanston] to help them. And just because I came from a home that only speaks like speaks Spanish,” she said. “I want to help them learn more to speak fluent[ly] in English.”

Salas aspires to become an esthetician and hopes to eventually own her own business in the Evanston area. But for now, she seeks to do her best as title holder for the next year.

“I'm just excited to start this new journey of mine,” she said. “I want to represent my state because people don't know really what Wyoming is like…[it’s] such a beautiful state and I'm so excited to represent it.”

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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