Laramie is set to be represented on the national stage next year when resident and University of Wyoming graduate Callie Mae Bishop competes for the title of Miss USA.
Bishop was crowned Miss Wyoming USA 2018 in September in her hometown of Casper. Since then, she’s been preparing for the national competition and making appearances around the state.
The Miss USA Competition is scheduled to be aired by Fox Broadcasting Company, but the date and location have yet to be decided. Bishop said Las Vegas, Nevada, has been the location of several previous competitions. She will know about eight weeks in advance when a date and location have been set.
Bishop got her first taste of the beauty pageant world after seeing a good friend in Casper win the title of Miss Wyoming Teen USA.
“It was jealousy,” she joked.
After seeing her friend spend a year traveling the county networking and gaining experience, Bishop decided she’d like a similar opportunity. She got her chance in 2008, when she succeeded her friend for the title.
Bishop later moved to Laramie to attend UW on a dance scholarship. She graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in theater and dance, and her home has remained here. She currently works for Coal Creek Tap, does outreach for UW and teaches at Blossom Yoga. In her free time, she loves to climb at Vedauwoo.
“Laramie has given me multiple reasons not to leave,” she said. “I never thought that it would steal my heart.”
She has competed for the Miss Wyoming USA title four times and earned first runner-up twice before this year. The last couple times she competed, she did so as the organization raised the age limit, which is now 27.
“That was a pleasant surprise,” she said.
But even as she acquired competition experience, Bishop said she didn’t have the same motivation in previous attempts as she did this time around, as she watched her father fight bone cancer.
“He kept saying, ‘Do what makes you happy,’ and ‘Life is short,’” she said. “Having that repeating in your head all the time accelerates your movements. I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this right.’”
Steve Bishop died in May and didn’t get to see his daughter’s coronation, but Bishop said they grew closer late in his life after a strained relationship growing up.
She described her father as a competitive person while also being able to light up a room with his smile, which are qualities she hopes to bring to her time as Miss Wyoming USA 2018.
“That’s the titleholder I want to be,” she said.
He also reflected the qualities of the state she represents, she said.
“Wyoming represents a very down-to-earth, hardworking group of people and that’s also who he was. He was such a hard worker,” she said.
Rose Curtis, a manager at Coal Creek Tap, said Bishop has the same strengths as those she admired in her father — among them a strong work ethic, competitive drive and bright smile.
“I don’t think there’s a job small enough in her eyes. She gives her heart and soul to mopping,” Curtis said.
She described Bishop as an extremely positive person who loves connecting with customers.
“That smile — she always has it, and it’s always genuine,” Curtis said.
Coal Creek TAP hosted a viewing party for the state competition. Curtis said the room was full, and the tension rose as Bishop closed in on the title.
“The whole room applauded and started screaming,” she said.
The Miss USA Competition requires state titleholders to be at their best. They are judged on a series of short interviews as well as swimsuit and evening gown competitions. The national competition has taken place since 1952, and the winner will compete for the title of Miss Universe. In 2015, the pageant was purchased by WME/IMG from previous owner Donald Trump.
Bishop said her preparations include a couple hours a day at the gym, a vegan diet and regular self-reflection and journaling.
“The only way you can really prepare for this is being the best version of you, physically mentally, spiritually and emotionally,” she said.
She aims to keep her thoughts positive while avoiding comparing herself with other people.
“You have to remember what you love about yourself, what you’re grateful for and why you’re doing it,” she said.
Bishop said she’s hoping the connections she makes during her time as Miss Wyoming USA 2018 will lead to opportunities after her reign is over, perhaps in the modeling or dance worlds. She also hopes to use her platform to share her passion for yoga and meditation.
In the meantime, she’s enjoying hometown backing as she advances to the national stage.
“I’m truly grateful for the support of my community,” she said.