Region 8 Girl Captures Miss Missouri Teen USA Crown

January 13, 2005 – Posted at 3:10 p.m. CST

NAYLOR – She yodels.... she acts...and she's a self-described tomboy.

"I've never been shy, because at the age of three, I was singing 'Achy Breaky Heart' in church," said Rachel Woolard, Miss Missouri Teen USA, "And when I won, I was barefoot on stage, and in true Southeast Missouri fashion, after they called my name, I slapped my knee and yelled dad-gum, and I just think, what did I get myself into."

It's speculated that the Naylor High School student could go far.

"As I always tell her, she's going to put Naylor on the map, if she's not careful, small town Missouri," Terry Arnold, Naylor High School Principal.

Woolard started out as a child competitor and was a finalist in last year's Miss Missouri Teen Pageant.

"It's just not a beauty pageant. It's about the girl, the all around girl, staying physically fit, and having a lot of goals," said Alisa Woolard, Rachel's mother, "And there are a lot of things with pageants that are great."

The high school sophomore says part of her new responsibilities as Miss Teen Missouri USA include time management, and by the looks of it, she's a pretty busy girl.

"Grade wise, she does excellent. She seems to be a leader of the student body and she's very energetic," said Arnold.

Woolard says it's all been a learning experience.

"Since I've won, I've learned who my true friends are and who they aren't. I've learned a lot about myself and that I'm actually a stronger person than what I thought myself to be," said Woolard.

And don't expect her to change, just because she has a new crown.

"Throughout all the years, Rachel has just been herself. She's not been a put on, and she's just been a country girl, and I don't look for that to change," said Alisa Woolard.

"I'm a country bumpkin from Naylor, and who would expect that the little wild girl running around in kindergarten would grow up to be Miss Teen Missouri," laughed Woolard, "It's an honor and it's just something really cool to show that even though you are from a small town, you can accomplish such great things."

Southeast Missouri has a history of turning out beauty queens. Miss USA 2004, Shandi Finnessey, was crowned Miss Missouri and Miss Black River Festival in Poplar Bluff.