by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
Dove Morgan Schmidt’s youngest child always told her that she should find a pageant somewhere and enter it because she was sure to win.
Little did she know that pageant would be the Ms. Oklahoma Senior America pageant and she indeed would be the winner.
“I felt like as the runners-up were going either this went really bad or really good,” she said with a laugh. “I was just doing it for us. I told my husband I’m going to relax and do it for fun and be the best I can be.”
Morgan Schmidt was one of 20 senior women who offered their philosophy of life, presented a talent and dressed up in their best during the mid-June event.
“I was very shocked,” she said. “There were some very strong women in the competition. It took about three days to actually sink in.”
She will compete in the national contest for Ms. Senior America in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 20.
Morgan Schmidt is the mother of five children and has four grandchildren. She grew up in a ranching family, living the cowboy way of life with cattle and horses.
Having an alcoholic father showed her the need to point children to positive choices while they are still young. She and her husband Mike host more than 250 children each year at their Crossroads Ranch where they teach character, work ethic, basic horsemanship and other life skills in a strong, Christian old West setting.
They teach young and old alike to set goals, dream big and live life to the fullest.
Weekly during the summer Morgan Schmidt and her husband welcome a busload of at-risk youth typically from the Tulsa inner city.
What awaits those kids once they step off the bus is a lesson in a life that tends to stick with them.
“It’s all Old West. We don’t have any video games,” she said. “We teach goal setting and just real strong moral and work ethics and strength and confidence.”
“It’s pretty fun. It’s always entertaining as well. Most do really well and they get a lot of confidence. Most of what they gain is a real strength of character.”
Morgan Schmidt is also a counselor and anger management specialist.
Some of the children come in as victims of sexual abuse.
Seeing them open up around the horses is a true blessing she says.
She believes in giving back by volunteering at Tulsa Youth Works, serving as a board member of Bristow Social Services, and the Indigenous People’s Foundation (International).
She has worked with the prison/parolee program since 1989 and is a Rodeo Queen judge and coordinator.
Family and encouraging people to walk a purposed life, horse training, helping children and adults with horse and life skills at the ranch plus writing books and articles and reciting cowboy poetry are among her many interests.
Morgan Schmidt founded the Crossroads Ranch Ministries and is a member of Chandler Assembly of God Church and the Cowboys’ United Cowboy Church. Nearly 200 people came to see the event, held at the Westminster Presbyterian Community Center’s basement theatre.
Morgan Schmidt will now take part in speaking engagements throughout various communities. Her message is simple.
“That women need to keep living,” Morgan Schmidt said. “The rest of their years need to be the best of their years. I’m 61 and all the time whenever I go someplace someone says ‘Oh, when you get to my age you’ll know what I mean.’ Almost every single time I’m older than they are but they don’t know it.”
Several family members were able to attend to see Morgan Schmidt earn her crown. Others anxiously waited for updates via Facebook.
“I would love to encourage other women 60 and older to look into the pageant,” she said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s a great way to connect.”
Wynelle Record, Oklahoma City Cameo Club member, and previous pageant participant said the pageant is about celebrating senior women and all they still have to offer.
“We were little girls playing grown up and all of us got to be Cinderella,” Record said. “We represented the communities we were from.”