Local girl wins Pennsylvania pageant

LEWISTOWN – In between studying for school, keeping up at dance class, hanging out with friends and spending time with family, Abby Traxler is shopping for an evening gown, practicing interview questions and choreographing her fashion walk for the Jr. T.E.E.N. United States Pageant.

At only 12 years old, Abby is representing Pennsylvania, as well as her hometown of Lewistown, at the national pageant to be held in June in Texas. She began preparing for the competition after being crowned Jr. T.E.E.N. Pennsylvania at the Edwin S. Porter Theater, in Connellsville, in April.

“I remember doubting myself a little bit before the crowning,” Abby said, recalling her unexpected win. “But I had won a pageant before and I knew I could do it again. It’s all about confidence.”

Even Abby’s mom was shocked. After all, said Karla Traxler, Abby was going up against seven older girls who had pageant coaches and much more experience.

“I was stunned,” Traxler said. “Abby joined the pageant just to gain some experience and she goes and wins the thing. We thought there was no way.”

Out of the seven girls competing in the 12-to-14-year old bracket, Abby had the highest score in on stage question, evening gown and fun fashion. She came in second for the interview portion, Traxler said.

“She’s 12 and she has had three interviews with judges and, honestly, as her mom, I sat there, as it was time for the on stage question, thinking what are they going to ask her,” Traxler said. “I was so impressed with her. It takes such a presence of mind to answer questions like that.”

Abby began competing in pageants last October, but wanted to be a part of the pageant world since she was 4 years old, she said.

“I grew up going to the Miss Central Pennsylvania Pageant and I was always a princess there,” Abby said. “So I’ve always wanted to do pageants. I like that you can get up on stage and show who you really are. And, when I was younger especially, I really wanted a crown.”

Now, Abby said, she understands that pageants aren’t about winning or the crown. It’s about being yourself, meeting new people and having fun, she said.

“Just follow your dreams,” Abby said. “When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor and now I want to be a singer or a dancer on Broadway or maybe a model. There are a lot of things that I want to be and I think pageants helped me see that.”

For now though, Abby is focused on becoming the next Jr. Teen United States in June. She also plans to compete in the Miss Central Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Teen Pageant and, one day, the Miss America Pageant.