From the Pasadena Star News, December 31, 2007
PASADENA - It was a meeting of the tiaras Saturday, as members of the Rose Court mingled with other pageant royalty at the Tournament House.
Current and former Ms. Wheelchair California and Ms. Wheelchair America had a meet-and-greet with Rose Queen Dusty Gibbs and her court.
Ruthee Goldkorn, executive director of the Ms. Wheelchair California pageant - and the 2001 titleholder - has been bringing Ms. Wheelchair winners to meet the Rose Court since 2001. Goldkorn said she was looking for outreach opportunities in "nontraditional ways" to raise awareness of issues specific to people with disabilities.
The hope is to inspire young women with disabilities to pursue opportunities for success, Goldkorn said.
For Susan Rotchy, the reigning Ms. Wheelchair California, who suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident, participating in pageants was something she enjoyed even before she was injured and she hopes to encourage all women, especially those with disabilities, to pursue their goals.
Rotchy, who handles speaking engagements in Northern California, has met with state leaders to discuss disability issues.
"This is advocacy for young women so they can recognize there are bright things in their future," she said.
To the delight of Ms. Wheelchair winners, a Tournament official said there were two girls in wheelchairs who competed to be on the Rose Court this year.
After a photo session, members of the Rose Court and the five current and former Ms. Wheelchair Californias and Ms. Wheelchair Americas chatted about competing in pageants, the Rose Court and, of course, crowns.
After Kristen McCosh, the 2008 Ms. Wheelchair America, gave Gibbs a bouquet or roses, she asked the Rose Queen about her crown, Gibbs admitted that there was little opportunity for her to handle it.
"I don't get to hold it that much," she said.
McCosh's crown - for now - is with her at all times.
Gibbs said she enjoyed her visit with the Ms. Wheelchairs and said while she was unaware of Ms. Wheelchair competitions, she hoped that all of the girls on the court will seek opportunities to make a positive changes.