Mackenzie Holtz of Rifle had "a blast" at Disney World in Florida, even though the 7-year-old second-grader at Highland Elementary School did not win the title of 2012 Miss American Princess.
Holtz and her parents, Darin and Tina Holtz of Rifle, were in Florida for Thanksgiving week for the pageant. Their daughter was selected in April to represent Colorado at the pageant.
Mackenzie Holtz called the experience "amazing."
"It was a blast," she said, with a big smile.
At the state pageant, Holtz won $500 cash, a $350 travel allowance to the national pageant, two tickets to Disney World, a crown, sash and several trophies for both the title and optional competitions.
Miss American Princess Pageants, organized by American Coed Pageants of Pensacola, Fla., holds pageants to recognize and reward young women between the ages of 3 and 22 for their past and present accomplishments, and to encourage them to set and achieve high goals.
Contestants take part in talent, speech, academic achievement, community service, photogenic, personality, most promising model, best actress and national cover girl and hostess contests.
Holtz raised $1,300 from area businesses and individuals in order to participate in the national contest.
Every day, she competed in an event along with 59 other girls, ages 3-6 from all over the U.S., in the princess division, Tina Holtz explained. She attended a party with all the princesses, where they played, talked and gave each other a gift that represented their state. Holtz received a donation of 60 unique toffee bars from Enstrom's Candies of Grand Junction as her gift to each of the princesses.
She also spent a day at Disney World and met Cinderella's stepmother, "who gladly wanted to take her home to the castle," Tina Holtz wrote, "as Mackenzie reminded her very much of Cinderella."
She also met Marie of the Aristocats, had a picture taken with more than 200 of the other queens from other states in front of the castle, attended the Disney World parade, followed by a private going away party. There, she had photos taken with Cinderella and Princess Tiana, with their autographs.
Holtz said her favorite part of the pageant was the talent competition.
"I did a ribbon dance," she explained. "My mom wanted me to practice it three times a day, but I fell one time" and didn't quite get that much practice.
That didn't seem to matter too much. Holtz placed third and won $100 in the talent competition. She hopes to perform her dance routine at area nursing homes over the holiday break.
Holtz also received an award and trophy for outstanding program participation for going out in her community and obtaining sponsors.
Holtz will pass her reign to a new princess in April. But she is not sure she wants to continue competing in pageants.
"It was kind of fun trying to win," she said. "But I don't know ..."
"She was not at all upset that she didn't win," her mom wrote. "She has the motto of 'it's not about winning, it's about having fun.' And as her mother, I can say she has a ton of fun."