Sheppard mom has good showing at pageant in Sunshine State

Jennifer Bennet, right, said support from her husband, Chris, of the 82nd Comptroller Squadron, made her successful as Mrs. Texas and the first runner up in the national competition. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bennett)

Jennifer Bennet, right, said support from her husband, Chris, of the 82nd Comptroller Squadron, made her successful as Mrs. Texas and the first runner up in the national competition. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bennett)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A trip to Florida in early August might be a vacation for some families. But for the Bennetts, it was more than that. 

Jennifer Bennett, wife of Senior Airman Chris Bennett of the 82nd Comptroller Squadron, competed in the Mrs. American Queen pageant Aug. 2-6 at a Club Med resort in Florida - and returned home a first runner-up. 

The Mrs. American Queen competition has three categories: interview, evening gown, and fitness, with bonus points for answering an onstage question. 

"My onstage question was 'What would winning the Mrs. American Queen title mean to you?' I explained that American Queen holds such an important place in my heart, and the involvement my husband and son get with me holding the Texas title is an amazing experience," she said. "Holding the national title would have given me more and greater opportunities to continue doing all the wonderful things I've done as Mrs. Texas." 

Despite this, the 2006 title went to Mrs. Florida, Norieta Stephanos. However, that won't dispel Mrs. Bennett's drive to win or enthusiasm for the American Queen program. 

"I plan on competing for Amercian Queen again; it's such a wonderful system with so many opportunities and fun experiences," she said. 

Nor will her quest for beauty queen titles end with her husband's assignment in Texas. 
When the Bennetts move to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in January, she'll also compete in the Mrs. Florida Galaxy pageant. 

In the meantime, Mrs. Bennett will continue to fill her duties as Texas's American Queen. 

"My title as Mrs. Texas has meant so much to me, and I've enjoyed every minute of it," she said. 

Mrs. Bennett, who has been competing in pageants since she was 14, became this year's Mrs. Texas American Queen Feb. 12. Since then, when not caring for her 15-month-old son Connor or running her Web-based business, she has fulfilled her duties with personal appearances at various Texas events. 

"I spend a great deal of time making personal appearances and trying to obtain sponsorships from companies in the local community to help defray the costs of attending pageants, as it can be quite expensive," Mrs. Bennett said. "It also gives companies the opportunity to get great advertising and show support for my title."