By Evan Moore
The Denver Citizen
June 23, 2021
DENVER — A Denver woman is your new Mrs. North Carolina.
Tara Allmendinger was crowned at The River Place Studio in Fort Mill, S.C., on June 12, where married women from across the state competed for the title in evening gown, swimsuit and interview categories.
Last year, in her first time competing in a pageant, she finished as the first runner-up to Ashley George, the then-Mrs. Lake Norman. “This was my second pageant and I got the job done,” Allmendinger said. “I came in so much more prepared.”
Being fairly new to pageantry, Allmendinger said her favorite part of the competition is the focus on growth and personal development, and bonding with other contestants in the process. “One of the things that I loved was just all of the friendships and the people, and the like-minded women that I am now friends with through the experience,” she said.
Allmendinger calls her husband, AJ, a NASCAR Xfinity driver who has experience interacting with the media during interviews, her “pageant coach,” as he gives her tips on how to answer tough questions on stage. “He keeps telling people, especially in his radio interviews, that they should be referring to him as ‘Mr North Carolina,’” Allmendinger said. “He is fully submerged, and he is the best pageant husband.”
As the winner of the Mrs. North Carolina pageant, one of the prizes that Allmendinger received was sessions with Jacques Dallaire, one of the top performance coaches in the world who has worked with many pageant queens and professional drivers, including recent Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Meyer Shank Racing. She plans to work with Dallaire to prepare for the Mrs. America pageant in November.
“For me, to prepare for this, it’s mind, body and spirit,” said Allmendinger. “It’s about getting into the gym, balancing my nutrition, working on my mind, continuously learning and just making sure I’m keeping life in balance.”
Previously a commercial pool designer, Allmendinger, who has a master’s degree in architecture, shifted her focus to women’s shoe performance. She recently partnered with designers in New York to develop an international brand for women’s performance footwear, and design a comfortable high-heel shoe.
Allmendinger is also an ambassador for the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, a non-profit advocate for the 8,900 miles of waterways in the Catawba-Wateree River Basin.In the platform she launched, called the “Wellness Warrior,” she works to educate the general public about what they can do in their homes to improve water quality in the area’s rivers.
“For me, at the base of our wellness is our water quality,” Allmendinger said. “I could tell you to work out all day and run, but if you’re not taking in good water, it really doesn’t do anything.”
Since she grew up in rural Nebraska, where her high school graduating class was made up of 53 seniors, Allmendinger said Denver reminds her of her roots, and that the encouragement from residents since her pageant win has been overwhelming.
“I have wanted to connect with the residents of Denver, and of Lincoln County,” Allmendinger said. “Just to feel and see that support, and to know that I’m here and I care about our community, I’m loving everything about Lincoln County for sure.”
Allmendinger will represent North Carolina at the Mrs. America pageant in Las Vegas on Nov. 20.
By Evan Moore, The Denver Citizen. June 23, 2021.
Original Article by Cheyenne Alexis of the Washington County Pilot Tribune & Enterprise.
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2021 10:30 am.
By Cheyenne Alexis - email@example.com
From Nebraska to North Carolina, Tara Allmendinger has always wanted to share her journey about self-healing with a large audience. Allmendinger was named Mrs. North Carolina June 12, and will be competing at the Mrs. America Pageant in Las Vegas in November.
Allmendinger started pageantry one year ago, though it's something she's always dreamed of doing. "I did everything I could to prepare myself," she said. "Once I was in North Carolina, I started meeting people that had done it before. I would start to see people and they'd say, 'You should try this.'" Allmendinger's journey began in Fort Calhoun, where she attended school from kindergarten until graduating in 2007.
While at Fort Calhoun High School, Allmendinger competed in cross country and was part of the team's state championship in 2006, which was also the first girls' state championship. Being part of that successful team was one instance of Allmendinger showcasing her leadership skills, which she said she's always taken pride in.
"I've always been a go-getter and had really big dreams and aspirations," she said. After graduating from FCHS, Allmendinger attended the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, where she graduated with the highest honors with a master's in architecture. "That was another moment that I'm very proud of," she said.
Meeting her husband, A.J., a NASCAR driver, was what brought her to North Carolina. Though she has had many opportunities being in North Carolina, one hardship was losing her mother due to pancreatic cancer, and struggling to find a balance as she dealt through that rough patch. Another element Allmendinger struggled to conquer is health-related issues and allergies, which she channeled into her platform.
"I had to dig deep and ask myself a lot of questions like, 'Am I happy, why am I not feeling satisfied and fully happy?' I have things in my life that are great, but there's something that I'm really missing," she said. "Doing that self-work is really hard, but I was able to turn that into a platform and I titled it 'Wellness Warrior,' and that need for constant improvement, not perfection, and being honest with yourself and vulnerable and share my story with other people ... I found there was so much power in that."
Joining pageants was something Allmendinger found to share her struggles and help other people.
"Doing the pageant and having other people say, 'That's inspiring and infectious' is really cool, and has really lit my fire to do more," she said. "Pageants are such a great vehicle for self-improvement."
As an ambassador for the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Allmendinger also hopes to use the Mrs. America pageant to spread awareness to water protection, which ties into her health-related struggles. "Where I'm at now is really similar to where Fort Calhoun sits — it's on the river near a nuclear plant, near a coal plant," she said. "For me to talk about water quality and rivers, especially with the floods that have been going on with the Missouri River and North Carolina on the Catawba River, there's a need for a voice for our river, water quality and health. I would not be a Wellness Warrior if I didn't talk about our water.
"If you're not putting good water in you, you are not going to have success in anything you do because your brain and stomach aren't connected, and they need good, clean water."
With her skills in design, Allmendinger said she's taking an extra step in the pageant world and creating a shoe line, called Queen Line, for pageant contestants to feel comfortable and inclusive.
"I just love that I've been able to pivot in an industry that I really love using design skills that I went to school for," she said.
Winning Mrs. North Carolina was a "freeing" feeling for Allmendinger.
"I didn't want to go into it surprised, I went into it prepared," she said. "I thought, 'I feel like a really good candidate and no matter what happens, I love my life, so I don't need this, but I'd love to have this.' Then, when it happened, I felt free and it felt really good to have done something and gotten up there and see it come full-circle."
Wayne Howard, Reporter
6/18/2021 7:48:00 AM
When you hear the name Allmendinger, chances are you think about racing--but we're not going to talk about racing today. Instead, let's talk about (and with) Tara Allmendinger.
Last year, Tara was the first runner-up for 2020 Mrs. North Carolina. Ashley George, Mrs. Lake Norman 2020, won. Married women from across the state of North Carolina competed for the title.
This year, it was Tara's turn! The 2021 pageant was held last Saturday (June 12th) at The River Place Studio in Fort Mill, SC. [The Mrs. South Carolina pageant along with Miss North Carolina for America and Miss South Carolina for America pageants were held at the same place that evening.]
After winning the title this year, Tara says she is excited for the "Race to the Crown" in preparation for competing at the Mrs. America Pageant held at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, NV November 12-21, 2021.
Now, for anyone who isn't a racing fan, her husband is AJ Allmendinger (Nascar Xfinity Driver, Kaulig Racing, #16).
Tara was kind enough to answer some questions.
WHY WERE YOU INTERESTED IN REPRESENTING NC/SC AS A MRS. AMERICA CONTESTANT? Representing North Carolina as a married woman is a personal goal because it will allow me to share my self-healing journey with a larger audience. I have discovered my superpower is to heal and sharing my road to wellness with others has given me a unique purpose. I am now excited to share my struggles and how they have created healthier lifestyle habits. Today I am the happiest and most well version of myself. I am living proof that self-care, living outside of the box, reciting daily affirmations and gratitude, not being afraid to fail, and listening to your inner self will improve your exterior and overall well-being. Join me. I will lead you to wellness.
WHAT KEEPS YOU BUSY DURING THE DAY (CAREER, SCHOOL, FAMILY, ETC)? In April I competed in my first fitness competition in Charlotte. Competing on stage was representative of me overcoming major gut issues and allergies. I have suffered from severe stomach pain, digestion problems, acid reflux, bloating, brain fog, anxiety, fatigue, and bouts of skin issues for the majority of my life. Things really turned a corner for me when I stopped listening to everyone else’s food advice, made a career shift, found an allergist, purchased a high-powered water filtration system, and became mindful of the gut-brain connection.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME (HOBBIES, INTERESTS, COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT)? At the core of our health is water quality. I serve as an Ambassador for the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation (CRF), a local, community-based group that dedicates time, talent, and resources to ensure the protection of the Catawba-Wateree River. If I were asked to create a superhero character, she would be the Race City Riverkeeper. What I am accomplishing through fundraising, education, advocacy, and engaging my local community is a way for me to apply my career experience and spiritual gifts to serve the greater interests of the River Basin. Healthy rivers build healthy communities, globally. Our Catawba River hosts the largest environmental clean-up in US history by volume. Creating a larger brand identity for the Riverkeeper is important to me because water has had life-changing impacts on my health and family.
WHY DID YOU ENTER THE MRS. NC/SC PAGEANT? I am a Wellness Warrior and I have the opportunity to promote health in mind, body, and soul across the Carolinas and the country. My goal is to successfully launch a line of women’s performance shoes designed for comfort, style, and performance that offer inclusivity to skin color. This heel supports the woman wearing it while elevating her endless preparation and sacrifice, which only she can bring to the stage. Elevating people to get a victory for their goals and dreams is inspiring me to continue to chase my own. I am so excited for the direction of my life and I cannot wait for the journey ahead.
The Lincoln Herald congratulates Tara on winning the Mrs. North Carolina America title this year. She and AJ both have a history of 'bouncing back' as racing fans who know AJ's story are aware. She's a lovely young lady and it's nice to have the photos of her to brighten our website this weekend. The photos are courtesy of photographer Angelia Hudson, www.angeliahudsonphotography.com.
Tara added, "I am so excited to represent North Carolina (and Denver)! I am proud to call myself a resident of this area and I hope to grow a greater interest in the pageant in this region and beyond. I know this county is filled with incredible women doing marvelous things for themselves, their families, and the community every day.
"It is my joy to champion wellness through my Wellness Warrior platform as well as promote Victories for our personal well-being, for the Catawba River, and our environment, as well as to combat opioid addiction and overdose death with the Victoria's Voice Foundation."
Wayne Howard, Reporter
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