FORT CARSON, COLO.- Spc. Maura Spence, a Katy, Texas native and an intelligence analyst with 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, won first place in the Miss Colorado 2021 pageant, June 8, 2021.
Now known as Spc. Colorado by her unit’s executive officer, Spence is scheduled to attend the Miss America 2022 pageant in December 2021 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
"Miss America is a two-week process," explains Spence. "The first week is mostly rehearsals and taping interviews for the live show. The second week consists of private interviews, preliminary competitions, on-stage talent competition, red carpet and off-stage interviews."
Throughout the entire process, Spence feels, "very lucky to have a chain of command that is so supportive."
According to 1st Lt. Andrew Looss, her unit's intelligence officer-in-charge, "Spc. Spence has a fire in her that makes her very proactive. She is a self-starter who is able to get tasks done with minimal oversight. Her responsibilities are far greater than what is expected from a specialist, and she exceeds them with ease. She is a team player and brings great energy to the battalion and the intelligence section."
Two reasons for Spence’s drive to compete in Miss Colorado and Miss America is to spread awareness for mental health and to keep the memory and dreams of her departed sister alive.
"My older brother, Sam, who’s seven years older than I am, is autistic," shares Spence. “Through the platform I’ve gained from competing in the Miss America pageant, I’ve been encouraging people to accept people with all sorts of disabilities.”
Additionally, Spence’s sister passed away in 2015, and was a "huge fan of Miss America."
"I made her a promise at her funeral — 'One day, I’m going to take you to Miss America with me,'" Spence said. “Now that I’ve won Miss Colorado and am heading to Miss America, I feel like I’m fulfilling that promise to her.”
Spence and the 4th Infantry Division are hoping for a victory, but Spence maintains a humble perspective: "If I don’t win Miss America, I’ll still be Miss Colorado. Either way, I feel like I win if I get to represent my state and my country."