Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2008 Taylor Fitch joins Miss Kentucky’s Outstanding Teen 2009 Madison McCowan for a picture during events leading up to the pageant last weekend in Orlando, Fla.

Madison McCowan didn’t come home with the crown, but she did return from the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant in Orlando, Fla. with a host of memories and a bunch of new friends.

McCowan, who was crowned Miss Kentucky’s Outstanding Teen in June, was at Disney World Aug. 15 and 16 for the pageant. The contestants arrived in Orlando Aug 5, participating in a series of promotional events, rehearsals and other events leading up to the pageant.

McCowan did not advance to the semifinals, but she did receive the marketing and advertising award, which included a $1,000 college scholarship.

“We were up at 5 a.m. and didn’t get to bed until 1 or 2 a.m.” McCowan said. “We did promotions for Disney and for the Children’s Miracle Network and signed autographs.”

McCowan said she didn’t get a chance to meet Mickey Mouse, but she did meet several other stars including Miss America Katie Stan and the winner of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2008 Taylor Fitch.

“They just told me to be myself and have fun,” McCowan said.

While staying in Orlando, McCowan said she shared a room with Miss Colorado’s Outstanding Teen, Janelle Orsborn, and made friends with the other contestants.

“I feel like they are some of my best friends,” McCowan said.

When asked about Kentucky, McCowan said the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Fried Chicken were two of the more popular topics.

“The other contestants wanted to know about the big hats the ladies wear at the derby,” McCowan said.

Contestants who had been to Kentucky wanted to know why Kentucky Fried Chicken tastes different in Kentucky than when they eat it at home. They said KFC in Kentucky tastes better.

McCowan said the perception of pageant contestants is that they are a bunch of catty girls with little intelligence. Getting the opportunity to spend time with the contestants will quickly change anyone’s opinion.

“We are just a bunch of regular girls who like to act goofy and have fun,” McCowan said.

McCowan offered one last fact for those who don’t think Miss America is something special.

“Parents are more likely to have a son grow up to play professional football than to be in the Miss America Pageant,” McCowan said.

Staff writer Dean Manning may be reached at

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