Volume 2 Issue 4 - August 2013

2013 Mrs. America Send-off Honoring Kandis Friedenbach (Mrs. NE 2013)

The 28th day of July was a beautiful summer afternoon and the perfect setting for the 2013 Mrs. America send-off for our reigning Mrs. Nebraska-Kandis Friedenbach. Fourteen former Mrs. Nebraska sisters were in attendance to cheer, support, and give words of wisdom to Kandis and share memories of our own experiences at Mrs. America.  Also in attendance, were several of the 2014 contestants that will compete for the crown this coming November. Kandis’s daughter and mother accompanied Kandis, as well as members of Mrs. Nebraska Executive Board consisting of Heather Edwards, and Jan Wilcoxen, and Robin Jones Giffords-pageant coach and Joe Bohac-make up guru extraordinaire. The chef of our annual event was Mr. Nebraska 2004-Jerry Meyerle and his lovely assistant (and daughter) Ana. Hostesses were Mrs. Nebraska 2004-Susan Meyerle and Mrs. Nebraska 1998-Debbie Anstine. 

Kandis revealed her state costume representing the College World Series which is held each year in Omaha, along with several interview suit options from her sponsor Sublime Couture pageant shop. She will compete in the same gorgeous evening gown she wore when she won the title of Mrs. Nebraska last November.

Kandis received many wonderful gifts, and tips, which will be very useful during her time in Tucson as she competes for the title of Mrs. America. Good luck to you Kandis and enjoy your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Nebraska will be cheering for you and remember you are already a winner!!!

The Mrs. America Pageant will be held at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona. Preliminary competition is Monday, August 26th with the final competition to be held on Wednesday, August 28th.


Birthdays and Anniversaries


• Deb Badeer - August 12th

• Lisa Gennaro - August 16th

• Kim LaBorde - August 19th

• Sharon Soltero - August 25th


• Jennifer and Greg Hart - August 1st

• Susie and Dave Sochor - August 6th

• Melanie and Mike Gutzmer - August 11th


Beauty runs deep in these families as Mrs. NE 2006-Jennifer Bradley and daughter-Lennon, Mrs. NE 2010-Nicole Panneton and daughter-Ava, and Mrs. NE 2009 Jennifer Hart and daughter-Hayden attend the 2013 Mrs. America send-off for Kandis Friedenbach.


Titleholder of the Month - Nicole Panneton (2010)


When one talks about the “title” of Mrs. Nebraska, their focus is usually on the woman who wears the crown. But the title is, and should be, more than just that. The title represents today’s contemporary married

woman meaning our role as a wife, a mother , and/or successful business woman, and philanthropist. It also includes our family, immediate as well as extended, as sisters and daughters.  I don’t know this month’s titleholder as well as I would like to, but what I do know about her is that as Mrs. Nebraska, she embraces all of these labels plus so much more. She is passionate about her family, but has an incredibly special bond with her dad. The platform and focus of Nicole Panneton’s reign as Mrs. Nebraska was Parkinson’s Disease, which her father currently suffers from.

Her husband, Mark has been her biggest supporter, not only during her reign but still is today. Panneton Dental Group is one of our pageant’s major sponsors. This is Nicole’s story.

“As I reflect on what the Mrs. Nebraska experience has meant to me, my first thoughts are of my father.”

 Nicole is the daughter of a former Yankee. Playing sports was something she and her dad did together as she was growing up.

As a young girl, Nicole was never exposed to pageants or the benefits they had to offer. She never had a reason to be on stage, or perform in front of a crowd. After high school and college, Nicole moved away to practice public accounting in Wichita, Kansas working ten hour days doing tax returns and audits. She says, “it certainly is not a profession that lends itself to practicing your stage walks and public speaking.”

Five years later, Nicole moved back to Omaha to marry her dentist. “I guess you could say my father introduced us.” Nicole’s dad was Mark’s very first patient. Since moving back to Omaha, Nicole has worked with her husband, Mark, managing his two dental practices.

In addition to that business, as many of us are extremely grateful for, Nicole also owns a full service pageant shop called Sublime Couture. One year ago she added a bridal division called Sublime Bridal.

2013 also marks seven years for Nicole as the co-chairperson for Lakeside Hospital’s Annual Fundraiser called Jewels of Autumn benefitting the fight against breast cancer in Omaha.

Each of us have our own personal convictions as to why it was our desire to win the Mrs. Nebraska title, and typically there is one person who is contributory in convincing us to do so.

For Nicole, it was her husband Mark. “Mark’s faith in me and his encouragement and support were instrumental in convincing me to run for Mrs. Nebraska. I had   never done anything like it, and thought, how hard could it be?” Nicole quickly learned her stage fright was oppressive, and would be her biggest obstacle. “Luckily, my third year competing, my on-stage questions were about Parkinson’s Disease, from which my father suffers, and about an influential couple. I was able to talk about my incredible parents and the beautiful example of family they have given me, and the incredible burden they have both undertaken with dignity. When I won Mrs. Nebraska, my dad was still able to walk on stage to congratulate me. He was so proud.”

At nationals, Nicole’s dad was in a wheel chair. She says, “my most memorable moment of Mrs. America was when all the contestants walked into the ballroom, through the audience, onto the stage. I was able to walk through the crowd past my dad, and stop to kiss him. His love was never something he articulated, but I could see it and feel it more than ever. At that moment, seeing him, my Mom, Mark, my sister and brother-in-law, my two older step-kids, my two little kids and my entire cheering section, I knew I had won the lottery of life.”

It has now been three years since Nicole reigned as Mrs. Nebraska and her experiences at Mrs. America are still fresh in her mind as cherished memories. After battling Parkinson’s for 15 years, hospice is now involved in her dad’s care, and this week Nicole and her family are moving him out of the home he has shared with her mom for more than 40 years, and into a nursing home. “I am so grateful he was able to share in my Mrs.

Nebraska experience with me, and I with him.  He has a picture of me in my crown and sash in his room.”

“Mrs. Nebraska was a journey I will never forget. I am so grateful to the women before me for making my experience possible, and I congratulate all the women after me for being brave enough to try something amazing.”

A perfect quote I found fits Nicole and her dad:

“Fathers and daughters share a special bond. Fathers treat their little girls as princesses. It is no wonder that fathers are extremely protective of their daughters. The greatest gift I ever had came from God, and I call him Dad!”

Nicole, what an amazing tribute you are to your Dad. The two of you share a very special bond that is indeed very rare. You have worked tirelessly trying to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease while staying grounded as a wife, mother, business woman and of course...a daughter. Even though this is an especially difficult week for you, you still continue to keep a smile on your face and persevere through it all. Your dad is a very blessed man to have you as his wonderful daughter and NOTHING will ever change your lifetime of memories with him. God’s continued strength and peace be with you, and your family, during this extremely trying time.

Because of your continuous support and contributions to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, in conjunction as a major sponsor of the Mrs. Nebraska Pageant, plus hosting the 1st annual ( and hopefully more) Mrs. Nebraska holiday party, along with your numerous philanthropic events, we honor you as August 2013 Titleholder of the Month!