The thing about being a reporter is you never know what’s going to happen that day at work, what you’re going to cover. On some of the biggest days in my career, I bounced from one story to another, from humorous to devastating, from trivial to unforgettable. We also get to witness things firsthand that others only see through their TV’s or read about.
Last Thursday, I got to do this..
Thanks to Mary Nelson from The Morning Blend for snapping the photo!
One on one, KETV photojournalist Ashley Nodgaard and I interviewed the most successful musician in history, Garth Brooks. He has sold more albums than any other artist, more than 69-MILLION. Songs alone, he’s sold more than 150-MILLION. You’d think all of that success would go to a guy’s head.. not this guy. He was gracious, genuine, down-to-earth and FUNNY. He shook not only my hand, but went out of his way to shake every photographer’s hand as well, making sure to thank them for their work. He truly seems to be completely fulfilled by his life in music, traveling the world with his wife Trisha Yearwood at his side.
When I asked Brooks about his advice to aspiring artists, he said PAY YOUR DUES. The gigs you play for little (or no) pay, the criticism you take that’s just flat out MEAN, the grueling hours you spend devoted to your craft without an end in sight… he said it’s all for good reason, it helps you become BETTER. Ironically, a few minutes later Brooks teared up a bit when he told me about hearing tens of thousands of fans singing his song, Unanswered Prayers.
It’s a song I’m guessing this young lady has played a time or two at home..
MISS SCOTTS BLUFF COUNTY 2015 BRITTANY ECKERBERG
“I competed 12 times before I won anything. The 13th time is when I won Miss Scotts Bluff County,” Brittany told me recently. “There are so many times when I would get discouraged and want to quit because I didn’t understand why I was never winning, but thankfully I kept going.”
Lucky #13 for a woman who has certainly proven herself worth of her crown. Brittany, a freshman at York College majoring in Business Management and minoring in Accounting, thought she would only participate in choir when she started college.
“Once I got on campus I became involved in speech, cheerleading, Theta Psi social club and Songfest. Next year, I’m going to be a Resident Assistant, Treasurer-in-training and Fashionista of Theta Psi, and I am the Vice President of York’s new chapter of Phi Beta Lambda.”
Advocating for things she believes in is nothing new to Brittany; when York College announced plans last month to cut the school speech team, Brittany joined a vocal group of students pushing for a chance to appeal the decision. Click here to learn more about #YCFreeSpeech.
Now as Miss Scotts Bluff County, Brittany is also volunteering throughout her community.
From Brittany: “Spent my #MissAmericaServes day by helping with clean up at the East Hill Clothing Drive! I helped sort through all of the clothes that are going to be donated to different charities in Nebraska! And I also helped load clothes into multiple trailers! Today was a great day to serve! @missneorg #MissScottsBluffCounty2015 #MissNebraska #MissAmerica #clothingdrive “
Brittany says some days, she can barely find time to eat. (Please note I took another bite of my Jimmy Johns as I read this.. Momma ALWAYS finds time to eat!) And there’s more! When she does get a break from classes, Brittany spends that time each summer, a full month, at church camp.
“My faith is very important to me,” said Brittany. “I chose to attend a private Christian school because I wanted to have a Christ-centered education while still being equipped for my future career. I wouldn’t be who I am today without my faith.”
Brittany wants you, and the Miss Nebraska judges to know all of this, and it’s why Interview is a favorite moment for this pageant veteran.
“It’s nerve-racking yet fulfilling at the same time,” said Brittany. “It really makes you be who you really are. I love the fact that I have no idea what they are going to ask me, whether it be what my favorite move is or what my platform means to me.”
That platform is ‘No One Is Invincible: Underage Drinking Prevention’ a mission inspired by her father’s work as a Scottsbluff police officer.
“Growing up I was taught to never do drugs and alcohol,” said Brittany. “I knew every, single police officer that my dad worked with and I knew that if I ever got caught, I would immediately have consequences. I was scared to drink. I have personally seen how your life can change in an instant because of drinking alcohol as a minor.”
From Brittany: “Enjoyed spending a little time today at the YMCA preschool. I got the chance to explain what the Miss America program is and I talked a little bit about citizenship and my platform! Preschoolers are such a joy to be around, and I’m so blessed that I got the opportunity to hang out with all of these kids today. Brings back good memories from when I went to this preschool! #MissNebraska #MissScottsBluffCounty2015 #myjobrocks”
Family continues to inspire and support Brittany as she pursues this new goal of competing for the title of Miss Nebraska.
“I have an older sister, two younger sisters and a younger brother. I know for a fact that I would never trade my siblings for anything,” said Brittany. “We are all different from each other which is the best thing to me. We cover the pageant scene, the sports scene, the computer guru area, and the country music loving scene.”
And speaking of country music, Garth Brooks once wrote:
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers
Perhaps, each of those 12 times Brittany prayed for a crown, to be recognized for her gifts, leadership and service, it wasn’t that no one listened, but that there was a different plan in place. Maybe #13 was always meant to be her lucky number. Maybe THIS gift is also a guide, keeping Brittany Eckerberg on the very path she’s now taking in 2015.. the road to Miss Nebraska.
Follow Miss Scotts Bluff County 2015 Brittany Eckerberg
To contact Brittany for appearances and events email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on becoming a future contestant, contact Director Cheryl Engelhaupt at 308-783-2940 or by email at email@example.com.
The Miss Nebraska Pageant will take place June 3-6, 2015 in North Platte. Click here to visit the organization’s website, to visit the pageant on Facebook, to follow the pageant on Twitter, and to follow the pageant on Instagram.
To read more about the Miss Nebraska Class of 2014, click on the ‘There She Is’ link at the top of the page.