This week, the reigning Miss Ludington will get her chance to become Miss Michigan.

A send-off party for Madelyn Shamel, the 2019 Miss Ludington, was held at the Red Rooster on Sunday. On Monday, she will travel to the Miss Michigan competition in Muskegon.

“I’m just really excited to take everything that I’ve learned over the last two years, all the experiences that I’ve gained, and all the wisdom that other people have shared with me and put all of that into one week and have fun with it,” Shamel said.

Shamel is the current reigning Miss Ludington. She won in 2019 and due to COVID-19, her reign was extended. She will be traveling to the Delta Marriott to participate in the weeklong Miss Michigan competition. Past Miss Ludington Shelby Soberalski held a send off party for Shamel at the Red Rooster so her loved ones could show support and well wishes.

“It’s just a nice little get-together to celebrate all of Madelyn’s hard work preparing for Miss Michigan,” Soberalski said. “It’s a moment to kind of pause and just realize all that she’s going to be doing this week and how proud of her to be representing our area.”

Soberalski is Shamel’s director for the competition and is also the person who recommended pageantry to her. Miss Ludington was Shamel’s first pageant. Because Shamel’s reign was extended, the two women have gotten close over the past two years. Soberalski describes her as a talented, sweet and generous woman.

“She really does embody everything that the Miss America organization embodies.” she said. “I could not have asked for a better representative for our area.”

Shamel is excited to attend the competition. Her friends and family have helped her prepare for it by holding mock interviews and watching her dance practices. Her social impact initiative focuses on community and creating strong communities for young women. Shamel said the Miss Michigan competition is a place where she can amplify her voice and talk about her passions.

“I feel like I don’t even have to do that much extra to prepare because it’s just like the way that I’m already living my life,” she said.

Shamel’s family and friends are excited and proud she is going to Miss Michigan. Her grandmother, Kathy Shamel, said the send off could not have been on a more perfect day. The skies were clear and the weather was warm. She said the competition has given her granddaughter life lessons and has taught her discipline.

“We’re just so excited to send her off and see what happens,” she said. “I wish her all the luck in the world, she’s got a lot of exciting things coming up in her life and this is one of them.”

Shamel’s maternal grandmother, Denice Oben, also expressed her happiness for her granddaughter. She thinks the pageant will give Shamel more confidence. She said the send off is a way to show Shamel the love and support her family has for her.

“I think it will be a very good experience and it’s something that she’ll remember her whole life, something she should be very proud of,” Oben said.

Shamel’s mother, Jennifer Shamel, said the party made her realize how close the competition was. She hopes the competition gives her daughter more confidence, and it will open doors for college scholarships and personal relationships. The Miss Michigan, and the Miss America competition in general, gives young women an opportunity to receive college scholarships. Jennifer Shamel is proud her daughter gets to represent Ludington this week.

“I feel in my mind she’s already won,” she said. “Not to sound corny, but it’s just an honor to even go and represent our little community.”

Bailey Richert is a friend of Shamel and has past experience with pageants. She encouraged Shamel to participate in pageants because she knows the opportunities it gives to young women. Richert hopes the pageant gives Shamel a network of other young women. She called Shamel special.

“She’s effortlessly poised, her communication skills are already excellent, she’s very confident and she’s just got the biggest, warmest heart,” Richert said. “I’m really excited for the judges to see that.”

Shamel wants to thank the Ludington community, her friends and family for the support they have shown over the past two years. It reassures and comforts her knowing she is not going into the pageant alone. She is glad she got to spend the day with her family and friends before leaving to attend the competition.

“I just really am thankful for the community in Ludington, and I’m excited to take that with me as I compete in Miss Michigan,” Shamel said.

The Miss Michigan Pageant starts on Wednesday. Shamel, along with 22 women from around Michigan, will be competing. The new Miss Michigan will be crowned on Friday.

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