Doniphan Pageant Winner: Next Stop, Vegas!
In a pageant held in Lee’s Summit, MO last month, Doniphan’s NaJaun Monique Catlow, 13, was crowned Miss Junior Teen Missouri United States. NaJaun (pronounced “nuh-ZHAWN”) attends Lone Star Elementary School in Doniphan, where she received the Most Improved Student of the Year Award for her 7th grade class last spring.
The daughter of Bill Catlow and Vicki Bulington, NaJaun, with her new pageant title, is now poised to go national; she is to contend for the Miss Junior Teen United States crown at the lavish Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas from July 12-18.
The pageant will be held in the same Orleans Hotel venue that features such luminaries as Clint Black, Trisha Yearwood, and Gladys Knight on its roster for summer 2008. No pressure there!
But seriously, as a young competitive horsewoman, soccer player, and veritable pageant veteran with a tidy list of previous regional competitions to her credit, NaJaun Catlow is accustomed to having to deliver under pressure. And Las Vegas will be her greatest challenge to date.
Fortunately, NaJaun’s community has become involved with her efforts to literally put her best foot forward in Las Vegas. Joyce Mullins of Doniphan, an airbrush-tanning and makeup specialist and pageant consultant (who is in fact “Mrs. Ripley County” in the related Mrs. Missouri United States Pageant) is now helping to prepare NaJaun for the upcoming contest. In addition, the young contender has so far garnered five non-corporate sponsors: her parents, not surprisingly; consultant Mullins; Evelyn Hunt of Doniphan; and Richard Musser, also of Doniphan.
To further generate the kind of support that will help her see to pageant-related costs, NaJaun has, with the help of her family, embarked upon a vigorous round of public appearances and activities that will allow her to present herself and her main areas of endeavor, so that she might become better known by the community she hopes to honor with a top-notch performance in July. This schedule involves autographing photos at local happenings, assisting in such events as the Miss Rodeo Southeast Missouri Pageant, and taking part in today’s 18th Annual Kids Fishing Clinic hosted by the Doniphan Police Department.
The key plank of NaJaun’s platform centers on her advocacy of foster care, a vital institution from which she and her 15-year-old brother, Kaacee, currently benefit—in the home of their soon-to-be adoptive parents, Mr. Catlow and Ms. Bulington.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of these kids,” says Bulington regarding the pair’s strides over the past 2 ½ years in their new home, and their devotion to each other as well.
Though NaJaun speaks of wanting to become a veterinarian someday, Bulington suspects she may find herself charting a different course for the future: “To tell the truth, I can see NaJaun going more into social work because she is so adamant about getting kids placed”.
NaJaun and Kaacee—who, according to Bulington, has gradually gone from sullen, baggy-trousered youth to “bull-riding, chute-dogging, Wrangler-wearing redneck cowboy”—have teamed up for several summer service projects. They were on hand for yesterday’s Future Farmers of America-sponsored Ripley County Fairgrounds Clean-Up, and plan to provide ongoing yard services for disadvantaged Doniphan families. NaJaun is also collecting goods for the Ripley County Crisis Shelter.
NaJaun’s next scheduled appearance will be Saturday, June 21 at a “Karaoke for All” fundraiser, to be held from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Ripley County Fairgrounds.
Bill Catlow says of his daughter’s many efforts in preparing for July‘s pageant, “She’s going out for this herself, and we’re all doing what we can to help. Getting out the word is one of those things.”
For more information on NaJaun Catlow’s schedule of appearances, please contact Bill Catlow at
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