July 23, 2014 - For someone who's never competed in a pageant, Sherry Reseigh did pretty good her first time out.
Sherry Reseigh, of Oxford, competed in a pageant for the first time in her life at 65. (click for larger version)
Last week, the 65-year-old Oxford resident was named second runner-up in the Ms. Senior Michigan pageant held at the Older Persons Commission (OPC) center in Rochester Hills.
"I totally, honestly didn't expect it," Reseigh said. "There were a lot of tall, very beautiful, talented women there."
"I was just proud as punch to be able to be in it," she added. "It was a wonderful experience. It was just glorious. We had the best time. It was a lot of fun."
Her main motivation to enter the pageant was being able to join the Cameos, a group of performers at the OPC center that puts on shows to raise money to help others. The group only admits previous Ms. Senior Michigan contestants as members.
But just because that was her motivation doesn't mean Reseigh, who's lived in the Oxford/Orion area for 34 years and been married to her husband Ralph for 47 years, didn't give it her all in the pageant.
"I really tried to win because I thought I would represent OPC very well and I also thought I would represent our state very well," she said.
Even though she didn't win, it gave her an opportunity to experience another facet of life. "I now know what pageant people go through. I had no idea before," Reseigh said. "I didn't know their special walk, the special way they smile, that kind of thing. I didn't know about any of that."
For the talent portion, Reseigh sang "Think of Me," from the musical "Phantom of the Opera."
"God gave me a gift of singing and that's what I do," said Reseigh, a 34-year member of Lake Orion United Methodist Church.
She's currently a member of The 650 Players at OPC, a group of performers that puts on shows involving acting, singing, comedy and story-telling.
Hard to believe, but there were only six women who competed in this year's Ms. Senior Michigan pageant.
"Every year's different," Reseigh said. "You have to remember a lot of people our age, for whatever reason, don't want to be in a pageant. I find that sad because I found (the experience) enlightening myself."
Her favorite part of the pageant was "getting to know" her fellow contestants and hearing their personal stories of survival or adventure. "You get to know people from all over the state," she said. "I thought that was wonderful. I met a cancer survivor – that's the lady that was crowned (Ms. Senior Michigan)."
Being part of the pageant gave Reseigh, who worked in personnel for the staffing industry for 17 years, a platform to extol the virtues of her philosophy. She believes strongly in helping others find their "special God-given gifts" and encouraging them to share these gifts with the world.
"Everybody has at least one special gift," she explained. "Mine, in particular, is laughter. Yes, I have a nice singing voice, but laughter is how I connect with people.
"I make people laugh and I lighten their load for the day. I can make people laugh in the grocery store or walking on the street. I try to make their day better."
Reseigh doesn't plan to enter next year's pageant. "Don't get me wrong, I had a great time," she said.
But she wants to focus her efforts on helping others, something she views as a "natural thing" in her life.
"It's just what you do," she said. "It's how I was raised."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.