Cannon mom sought new challenge in pageant

Cannon Connections: Argen Duncan The Brown family, from left, 2-year-old Andrew, Abbey, Adam and 4-year-old Alexis sit in their Clovis home. Abbey competed in the Mrs. New Mexico America pageant in June, and her platform included sharing her positive perspective on marriage.

By Argen Duncan: Cannon Connections

Modeling her Air Force career and ideas on marriage along with an evening gown, a Cannon Air Force Base substance abuse counselor was named first runner up in the Mrs. New Mexico America pageant in June.

Staff Sgt. Abbey Brown competed in the pageant for married women in Albuquerque. Besides being named first runner up, she also won Best in Gown.

Abbey is married to Staff Sgt. Adam Brown, who works in communications at Cannon. They have two children, Alexis, 4, and Andrew, 2.

After the Browns received orders to go to Cannon, Abbey wanted to “see Clovis through the town’s eyes” and challenge herself in a new way after her 30th birthday. She found the Mrs. New Mexico pageant.

“It takes marriage and how Adam and I feel about it in a positive light, and puts it in a public forum,” she said.

Abbey also wanted to see if a “not-drop-dead-gorgeous, not-90-pound woman” could be herself, believe in her cause and succeed on stage.

Once she became Mrs. Clovis, Abbey participated in a variety of community and volunteer activities, and met women from many walks of life.

“And it was just so neat to be embraced by a community,” Abbey said.

Abbey said her Best of Gown win shows that God works in mysterious ways.

After she was unable to find the right dress in the region, someone recommended Serendipity dress shop in Oklahoma City. Adam was away, but the family had friends in Oklahoma City, so Abbey and the children headed that way.

The one Serendipity dress she liked was far above her budget, but she ended up getting a special discount of more than half off because she was serving in the Air Force.

Adam said from a man’s point of view, it was just a beauty pageant at first. However, after he watched his wife prepare and looked at “a thousand billion” dresses, shoes and swimsuits with her, he decided the pageant was interesting.

“It’s more intellectual than anything,” he said.

During the preparations, Mrs. Alamogordo Dena Curran, a beauty pageant competitor since age 9, sought Abbey out and offered advice. The two became friends, as did their husbands.

For the four-day pageant, 17 of the Browns’ relatives came from the Eastern United States, and about 10 people traveled from Clovis. Adam gave Abbey flowers and encouraging notes throughout the weekend and pressed her clothes.

When the curtain came up for the night on stage, Abbey was nervous, but her confidence grew during the evening as she felt she was being true to herself. She said she answered the judges’ questions as honestly and articulately as she could.

In the end, Curran had pulled ahead of Abbey by less than one point.

“I was so unbelievably happy for her at that moment,” Abbey said.

If Curran wins the Mrs. America title in September, Abbey is to step up to be Mrs. New Mexico. If that doesn’t happen, she plans to try again.

Although Abbey initially said she would only compete in one pageant, Adam said he knew first runner up wouldn’t satisfy her and she would want to continue to promote her platform.

“I believe in being a community ambassador,” Abbey said. “I believe that I could make a difference. Most importantly, I believe the most important title I’ve ever won is not staff sergeant or mom or Clovis resident, but it’s Mrs. Brown.”

Abbey said she wouldn’t be half the person she is in her other roles without her husband.