FORT CARSON, Colo. -- By her own admission, growing up, she was "the biggest tomboy ever."

Whether she was climbing trees, playing on the softball field, or shooting hoops, she said she was one little girl who was not afraid to get dirty.

When 1st Lt. Angela May DiMattia joined the Army, she said it brought her back to her childhood - back to days playing in the woods and rolling around in the dirt.

"Really when was the last time an adult played in the woods just for fun?" said the 33-year-old.

So, it was a definite departure for her to enter the world of pageantry.

DiMattia recently won the title of United States of America's Ms. Colorado in her first attempt at competition pageantry.

"I never considered competing in a beauty pageant," said the Columbus, Georgia, native. "I didn't ever care about winning a pageant."

Among the many ways she keeps herself busy, DiMattia is heavily involved in charity work and saw entry into the pageant as a unique opportunity.

"I wasn't going to compete for 'Miss Pretty,'" said DiMattia. "But when I found out this was a competition where the winner gets money for charity - and I've dedicated the last 10 years of my life to really get into more charity work - I was like, this might be an opportunity for me to talk about the charities on post, show my intellectual side, and use the media aspect to try to do something good."

When she is not putting in work for Soldiers and Families, DiMattia, who serves as a Family Readiness Leader for the 52nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, can be found on the weight bench.

"I love my gym time," said DiMattia. "It is my one-on-one time to work on myself to better my heart and lungs."

The competitive nature that was born in her youth playing sports has manifested itself in not only her competition pageantry, but also in her love of competitive body building, CrossFit and marathon running.

"I feel like in today's world, I am not your normal pageant girl. At all," DiMattia said. "But I feel like that is what gave me the advantage, because I was able to show them a well-rounded person, who has known physical exhaustion, who's served her country, who's not afraid to get dirty."

Serving also as her battalion's unit public affairs representative, responsible for telling her unit's story, she credits the military for greatly improving her communication skills.

Often having to brief higher ranking officers, she has become comfortable and confident with public speaking no matter who the audience is. She said she feels like this experience gave her an advantage in the pageant as well.

As the first active duty Soldier to win the title, she said she feels like she has set an excellent example for other young women.

"I am not doing this for popularity advantage," she said. "I am doing this, so I could earn the respect for the Soldiers and their Families. At the end of the day, if one Soldier's family is helped, then it is all worth it."

While it seems that there are not enough hours in the day for DiMattia to accomplish all her ambitions, she has the support of her family, her boyfriend and an encouraging chain of command.

"It is amazing what we can allow our Soldiers to do if we just believe in them," said DiMattia. "My chain of command really believed in me, and that means a lot to me."

One of her biggest supporters is her battalion commander, Lt. Col. Larry G. Workman.

"She is tenacious, extremely bright, hard-working and compassionate," said Workman. "DiMattia, I expect her to win at everything that she does, whether it's softball, whether it's an Army Physical Fitness Test, whether it's Ms. Colorado. I expect her to win at everything."

Because the Army isn't the only thing that defines the character of a Soldier, Workman encourages Soldiers to pursue other interests outside of the military.

"I think she is the perfect Soldier to represent all Soldiers on how they strive to be both a good Soldier and a good contributor to society," he said. "It shows that you can do anything with hard work."