LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The annual Miss RemarkAble pageant is one of many events cancelled due to COVID but the impact of the pageant stays with the contestants long after it's over.
Shelby Reshke is probably one of the only people happy about COVID.
"It's been fun because I don't have any events to do right now," said Shelby.
Typically Miss RemarkAble spends one year working as an ambassador for APTIV, an organization teaching life skills to people with disabilities.
Now, Shelby can focus on being a fan to her favorite team, the La Crosse Loggers. Her job is to clean the stands and the field after each game but since there are limited spectators at the games, she has more time to be a fan.
"It's nice to be there just there just to enjoy the games and cheer them on and make them win," said Shelby.
For the past 10 years, Shelby worked as a groundskeeper at the Lumberyard. She got her dream gig through APTIV, a customized service for individuals with disabilities. APTIV not only helps their clients live more independent lives, but it also helps the people that care for them, like Shelby's mom.
"For me, it's made me feel like I have support if I'm struggling. As a parent, I need that. So APTIV has been amazing to get me through times as well," said Wanda Reschke.
In July 2019, Shelby was crowned Miss RemarkAble. The title changed her life. It also left an impact on her friends and family.
"My mom was happy when I won. She cried a little. My dad was happy, too," said Shelby.
"From the past, she's been bullied in school. And when she was on that stage that was behind her. She says I love myself for what I am inside as well as the beauty she saw outside," said Wanda.
The entire day of the event the girls are pampered by students training at the Salon Professional Academy in Onalaska. The students volunteer their time doing hair and makeup for the contestants. Sue Kolve-Feehan says her students love the opportunity to help but it's the contestants that really enjoy it.
"It's a very noticeable change as they go through the day. When they first arrive in the morning, they're a little nervous. They just begin to enjoy the process and they start building this sense of self-confidence and this positive feeling from within them and it's magical. It's a magical transformation," said Kolve-Feehan.
"I've had more people say that when Shelby walks in a room if she smiles…they light up. She brings out a smile in them and she does that at home as well," said Wanda.
I feel pretty inside and I'm just relaxed," said Shelby.