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The 2023 Miss Wyoming and Miss Wyoming Outstanding Teen have been crowned

Miss Wyoming & Miss Wyoming Teen 2023
Miss Wyoming
2023 Miss Wyoming Outstanding Teen Katelyn Reckard (left) of Sheridan and Miss Wyoming Mackenzie Kern (right) of Casper pose after being crowned at the WYO Theater in Sheridan on June 24.

The 2023 Miss Wyoming and Miss Wyoming Outstanding Teen pageant was held at the WYO Theater in Sheridan on June 24. Mackenzie Kern, 23, an entrepreneur from Casper, and Katelyn Reckard, 16, a senior at Sheridan High School, were crowned with each title respectively.

“This is my third time going to a national competition for the state of Wyoming, so I'm really excited,” Kern said. “I am a female in business [and] I own two businesses. I am going in excited to talk about female entrepreneurship. And mental health is also a very important topic for me, so I'm looking forward to advocating for that during my reign.”

Kern held the titles of Miss Wyoming Teen USA in 2018 and Miss Wyoming USA in 2021 prior to being crowned Miss Wyoming this year. Miss Wyoming and Miss Wyoming USA are two unrelated pageant events that are under their parent organizations, Miss America and Miss USA.

She launched Loveleigh, a clothing company, in 2019. Shortly after its creation, the pandemic hit, which made her increase the company’s social media presence and helped grow it since then.

“As an 18-year-old, [I] turned $500 that I'd saved from my Ulta job into $50,000, which is insane when you're a 19-year-old,” she said. “I had no idea the magnitude of success that was possible for me at such a young age, and I've only wanted to grow since then. And that's what we're doing right now.”

Kern decided to compete for the Miss Wyoming title as a last-minute decision and feels she’s in a better place now than when she held the Miss Wyoming USA title.

“What I was honestly going through during that time, I feel like I'm much more in a position to step into this role in taking not only my power back for myself but give my state what it deserves. And I'm really hoping to bring home a Miss America crown this winter,” she said. “I'm heading into it with a lot of faith and a strong belief in myself that I can turn around and paint a picture for me that I've always known existed.”

Miss Wyoming Teen Katelyn Reckard decided to compete for her title after being encouraged to do so by a former Miss Wyoming Outstanding Teen via Instagram. She admitted it wasn’t something she had planned on doing but was convinced once she visited with the former titleholder in person.

“I was very skeptical, but I let her take me out to coffee and tell me more about the organization and what we do,” she said. “I kind of fell in love with it and here I am now as the new Miss Wyoming Teen.”

Reckard is also advocating for mental health as part of her platform, having had her own struggles with it.

“My community service initiative is called Step One and it's inspiring positive change by meeting people at their own Step One [of] mental health,” she said. “This was really inspired by my own diagnosis that I received last September. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression, which was a really hard diagnosis for me to get because I didn't really know that I was struggling.”

This diagnosis led her to help others who also face issues with their mental health. She’s also currently receiving mental health treatment.

“I've been seeing a therapist since September and it's amazing. Lots of people will not talk about therapy, but I think it's a huge reason that I'm so, I guess I should say, functional, in society now,” Reckard said. “She [my therapist] really just keeps me grounded and has given me so many tools to not let my mental illness get the best of me, and I genuinely think it's something that everyone should be able to experience because it's helped me so, so much.”

Reckard is looking forward to talking with students and mental health professionals during her tenure, as well as encouraging the legislature to enact legislation about mental health education.

“We've gotten to the point in time where mental health is talked about, but it's not talked about in a way that it should be,” she said. “I'm making it my goal to show my experiences of, ‘Hey, I wasn't okay, but now I am getting better, and it's helping me so much.’ Because I want to inspire people to get better.”

She also encourages young people, especially girls, to get involved in their communities.

The dates for Miss America 2024, which includes contestants who were crowned in 2023, hasn’t yet been announced but will take place late this year or in early 2024.

Editor's note: This article has been amended because Kern has recently claimed women in business as her official platform. Previously another platform was mentioned.

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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