A Murrells Inlet woman who had won this year as Mrs. Myrtle Beach has brought home the Mrs. South Carolina America crown for 2014.
Meredith Kirk said when she met the other contestants, all of whom she called so “talented and amazing,” she concluded, “I’m not winning.”
“So, mentally I was prepared not to win,” Kirk said, “and I was totally shocked when I won. I had no clue I was going to win it.”
Kirk called the friendships built through this pageant that culminated Saturday in Lexington, near Columbia, perhaps the most valuable part of the whole experience.
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“I became really close with all the ladies,” she said, praising the whole group. “Everybody won. I will be friends with these ladies for a lifetime.”
Kirk, married for seven years to Landon Kirk, a chiropractor, has three sons. She said their youngest boy, Jordan, was most surprised and elated when the pageant winner was announced.
Meredith Kirk said her mother recounted the boy’s reaction at that second: a big “Yes!” and a “Tiger Woods fist pump.”
“He also said, ‘Now I get to stay up late and go the after-party,” Kirk said. “He’s only 6.”
Before this year, Kirk hadn’t ventured into pageants, she said, “so I had to learn how to walk on stage with a swimsuit, to do that little model walk.”
Asked if she had seen “Miss Congeniality,” a hit movie from 2000, Kirk said she “totally related” to Sandra Bullock’s character.
“She was a cop, and I’m a golf pro,” said Kirk, a member of the Ladies Professional Golfers Association, “so I have that boyish thing in me. I’m really more of a tomboy at heart.”
Each competitor for Mrs. South Carolina America received a $900 golf bag, and Kirk won a prize package worth in excess of $75,000. Kirk moves on to the Mrs. America title in August at a location to be announced as plans continue for its broadcast on national TV.
“I have a good 10 months to prepare for it,” Kirk said. “I can eat what I want for the holidays, and get right back on the treadmill in January.”
Fred Galle, who with wife Wendy Galle, heads the Mrs. South Carolina America and Mrs. America contests, called this 37th edition of the state pageant – more details at www.mrssouthcarolinaamerica.com – “a really fun time, with a fantastic group” of women. He also said the pageants with married women interest him more because of the competitors have “more experience and age.”
He also lauded Kirk for her scoring on the golf course to make the sport more accessible to youth across the United States through her foundation.
Kirk said through the Junior Golf Exchange organization – for which the website juniorgolfexchange.org is slated to go online Dec. 10 – youth from all backgrounds, without any eligibility or needs-based requirements – “and no questions asked” – can receive golf equipment at no cost, thanks to other parents who donate golf clubs, bags and gloves when their children outgrow them.
For instance, Kirk said that every year, any one of her three sons has needed a new golf bag. She said through this program, a parent can donate used wares to a participating golf course for relay to other youth in the exchange. That way, in these times she said also have hit the middle class hard, a family averts having to spend several hundred dollars for all-new equipment.
“Recycling clubs saves parents so much money,” Kirk said.
She said in junior golf that gender, skill level and height all factor in a youth’s equipment needs.
“That’s how you determine what type of clubs you need,” Kirk said.
Having Larry Nelson, a longtime Professional Golfers’ Association of America Champions Tour player, record an endorsement later this month for Junior Golf Exchange, also excites Kirk’s Thanksgiving week plans.
“He’s a phenomenal golfer,” she said, grateful for his commitment.
Winning Mrs. South Carolina, after earning the Mrs Myrtle Beach crown, will help in promotion of the program, the sport and the Grand Strand.
“I wanted to represent Myrtle Beach,” she said, noting not only her personal golf career passion. “I wanted to represent he golf capital of the world.”