(Carolyn Plotts/Oberlin Herald)
"I have a couple more pounds to lose and I'm on track to be at my target weight by the Mrs. Kansas pageant (March 1-2)," she said.
Shields went on to say that she still has a lot to do before traveling to Branson, Mo., for the combined Kansas and Missouri competition.
"I have pictures to take," she said, "a page in the brochure to lay out, travel arrangements to make and I haven't even selected my gown for the evening competition yet. It's so important to find the perfect gown."
The pageant provides swimsuits for each contestant, she said, but they wear their own choice of outfits for the interviews and other events.
Letters asking for financial support have been sent to many area businesses and individuals.
"I have lots of friends helping me," she said, "but honestly we're doing this on a shoestring. I am very frugal, but it is going to cost some money. Some of the contestants, I know, have major corporate sponsors. I don't. A few people have already stepped up to help, and I really appreciate that. Any money I receive goes directly into a special account just for the pageant."
A send-off party for all her supporters will be held Saturday, Feb. 23.
Shields said people have been wonderful supporting her efforts. Her platform is to raise awareness of the work done at the Haven in Norton, a nonprofit she runs that provides a place for families to stay while visiting prisoners at the state prison there.
Shields also is a full time teacher aide at Eisenhower Elementary School in Norton. She and her husband, Damien, have two children, Emmary, 2, and Darius, 8.
Donations may be sent to her at 813 N. Grant Ave., Norton, Kan. 67654. Anyone who helps support her before Feb. 6 will be recognized in the official pageant brochure, she said.
For more information or to have Mrs. Northwest Kansas speak at your club or function, call (785) 202-1167.