MUSCATINE, Iowa–For many, performing, speaking in public, and getting on stage in front of a huge crowd sounds like a tall order, but nine-year-old Harper Wittmer of Muscatine does not think so. For the past five years, Harper has competed in a variety of different pageants, developing her talents and gaining confidence. This July, her dedication has paid off when Harper earned the Li’l Miss Iowa crown.
As someone who enjoys socializing, Harper loves going to pageants to get to know other kids like her. “The thing I enjoy is getting to meet new people and getting to make new friends,” she shared.
Harper also welcomes the chance to show off her skills in the different stages of competition, include doing an interview, demonstrating a talent, and modeling an outfit of choice. This year, the outfit of choice part of the pageant ranked as her favorite because, “I really liked my outfit and I felt very confident in it.”
For the past three years, Harper has done speed painting as her talent. She first saw a Miss Iowa contestant do it and really wanted to give it a try. Harper spends two minutes creating an image upside down and then flips it over to reveal her work. She chooses well known musicians who she enjoys listening to as her subjects, doing simplified but easily recognizable silhouettes of them. This year, Harper choose a classic, the Beetles, as her subject.
Before the Li’l Miss Iowa pageant, Harper did a number of test runs to make sure she felt ready to perform on stage. She sold all her practice pieces and donated the money raised from them to It Takes a Village Animal Rescue and Resources, which she first learned about when her school did a craft fair fundraiser for them. As part of the activities Li’l Miss Iowa contestants did before the pageant, the girls put together packages of donated supplies to give to dogs and cats in need in the People for Pets Foster Program. Harper enjoyed having another way to help pets this pageant season.
Though Harper has competed in the L’il Miss Iowa pageant for three years, she still felt blown away by winning this year, and for receiving the top talent award. “I felt really excited and I was really happy and really proud,” she said. Having Kenzie Riley with Junior Miss Iowa at the same time made the win even more special for Harper, as she made friends with Kenzie through the pageant three years ago and the two have hoped they would win together since then.
While Harper’s pageant season has ended for the year, she certainly plans to keep competing in pageants in future years. She also looks forward to getting to go to different events and make appearances as Li’l Miss Iowa this year, especially the Teddy Bear Tea at the Festival of Trees in the Quad Cities. If you have an event you would like Harper to appear at, her mother, Amber Wittmer, encourages you to email her.