Going for the crown

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By Kirsten Laskey

Bernadette Lauritzen wears a large number of hats in the community. She is a wife, a mother and a board member of the Leadership Los Alamos and Friends of the Senior Center. Laurtizen also runs Assets in Action, works as the wedding coordinator at the United Church of Los Alamos, operates the Los Alamos Youth Leadership program, writes and photographs for the Monitor and hosts a program on KRSN radio.

Why does she have this vast collection of hats? “Because I think the members of the community shape the community,” she said. “I think we all need to be involved in the community and make it better.”

And now Lauritzen is setting her sights beyond Los Alamos. But instead of getting  another hat to wear, she is looking to gain a crown.

Lauritzen is Mrs. Los Alamos and will compete to become Mrs. New Mexico in June at the Roy E. Disney  Performing Arts Center inside the Journal Pavilion in Albuquerque.

Lauritzen explained since Los Alamos is celebrating its 60th anniversary, she thought competing in the pageant would be a fun way to tie into the celebration.

Also, as a representative of Los Alamos, Laurtizen said she can attract people to the area.

To become Mrs. Los Alamos, Laurtizen said she needed to be involved in the community, be married and submit a photo.

She found out that she earned the title Feb. 3. Being Mrs. Los Alamos is a new experience for Lauritzen and while she thinks it is funny for someone who is not a girly-girl to be involved in a pageant, everyone in town seems to be rooting for her.

“People think it’s very exciting,” Lauritzen said.

She added her sons wondered if they were going to be famous, since their mom is now Mrs. Los Alamos and if they would become even more famous if she won the pageant.

To get into the competition, Lauritzen said she needs to raise $700. Therefore, she is hosting a bake sale from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday at Los Alamos National Bank and another from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. March 8 at the Family YMCA. Laurtizen said the baked goods for Thursday’s sale will be made by her neighbors and a few teachers at Chamisa Elementary School.

Additionally, she will host a raffle during Chamberfest in June. For $5, ticket holders can try to win cookies delivered each month for a year. For $25, participants can try and win a homemade dinner. Whoever doesn’t win those two items can try and win several items including Viewfinder Traveling Portraits black-and-white photos.

Several other donors have shown their support including County Councilor Sharon Stover and Joy Beery of Los Alamos Family Council. Xi Nu Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi also donated $100. Plus, there is an account set up at Los Alamos National Bank.

During the pageant, Laurtizen will be judged in several areas. Her score will be divided between an interview with judges, and an evening gown and swimsuit competition. If she wins, Laurtizen said she can compete for Mrs. America.  

She joked that her husband was nervous about the $700, while she is more concerned about the swimsuit competition.

Despite any jitters, Lauritzen said she is eager to compete. Her father worked for Disney and so she is excited that the pageant will be held at the Disney Performing Arts Center.

It is also another opportunity to get involved in the community. Laurtizen has set up a penny drive with jars at the Monitor office, chamber of commerce, KRSN and YMCA to collect two cents and what people love about Los Alamos and White Rock. Laurtizen explained she thought it would be fitting since the area is celebrating its 60th anniversary.  

Lauritzen  has lived in Los Alamos 15 years. “I love the small town feel. I love the safety, the great schools and teachers,” she said.