BIG PINEY – What does it mean to win a pageant? Is it all about beauty and looks? Or, are the winners more than just a cute face? If you answered yes to the last question, then you are correct.
Current Miss Teen Wyoming and Big Piney resident Chandler Jones is far more than just a cute face. The 16-year-old is about to be a sophomore at Big Piney High School, but her resumé looks more like an accomplished adult.
From an early age, Chandler has been interested in helping people and developing programs to accomplish her goal. As a second-grader, she impressively started her own foundation, called “Wild Riders.” The foundation is centered around helping people with disabilities, and it raises money to help families who cannot pay for certain expenses. Wild Riders also helps the families pay for rides to Jackson and let them ride horses for the MESA project, which is very helpful for the children. The foundation has reached all corners of Sublette County and has “helped so many families in the area,” according to Chandler’s mom Stacy.
Chandler’s focus on helping people with disabilities stems from her younger 13-year-old brother Ian. About 500,000 children in the United States have cerebral palsy according to the Centers for Disease Control. Ian is among the children with the condition. His older sister loves him and is determined to help him and others like him live a full and happy life.
Having such direct experience with disabilities helped Chandler during the Miss Teen Wyoming competition.
The competition is divided into five different facets, where the competitors show off a talent, conduct an interview and dress for three different stages. During the interview, Chandler explained her platform, which happens to be about acceptance of children with disabilities. Jones was able to speak extemporaneously and from the heart, having so much personal experience with the topic gave her the ability to kill the interview.
The interview and the other stages of the competition showed Chandler’s character, beauty, intelligence and at the end of the two-day competition in Sheridan in early June, she was crowned and began her year-long reign as Teen Miss Wyoming. Now the 16-year-old faces the responsibilities and obligations that come with the title.
Summer is now in full swing and that means one thing for a pageant winner – parades. Chandler will be seated on floats all across the state of Wyoming in celebrations of all kinds. During Cheyenne Frontier Days, Jones will be present at a special Queen’s Luncheon, where she will be joined by other crowned peers. But before she travels across the state, Jones started off in the Chuckwagon Days Parade in Big Piney for the Fourth of July celebration. After that she will start her yearlong tour of parades and travel. Luckily, Chandler isn’t new to the pageant game. When she was 7, she was crowned Miss Petite Wyoming and was able to get a taste of what she is about to encounter.
So what does life look like for Teen Miss Wyoming in everyday life? Not so different from many teenage girls, Chandler loves to hang out with her friends and listen to her favorite singer, Justin Bieber. She also loves to be around her younger brother Ian and enjoy his happy disposition. There is a possibility that you might find her reading a novel, or maybe catch her eating her favorite foods: ribs, macaroni and cheese and chocolate-covered strawberries.
As Chandler approaches her second year at Big Piney High, she looks forward to the upcoming volleyball season. Last season as a freshman, Chandler was a member of the squad that traveled to Casper to compete in the state tournament, which Big Piney hadn’t been to in years. This has her excited for the team’s next campaign. When volleyball comes to a close, Jones will suit up for the cheer squad and pump up the Puncher crowd. Rounding out the school year, Chandler will lace up her track spikes and contribute as many points as possible for the track and field team. As a freshman, Chandler lettered in all three of the sports, pinning some flair on her letterman’s jacket.
Life after high school is still a few years away for Jones. But she is already making plans to further her education. Even though Chandler is a Big Piney native, she still isn’t crazy about the cold and long Wyoming winters. That is why she dreams of traveling to the West Coast and attending the University of Southern California, where she can enjoy the warm California sun. However, much to her chagrin, Jones will most likely follow her older brother Dalton and attend the University of Wyoming in Laramie, to eventually join her mother as a UW alumnus. Her goal is to become either a special education teacher or a counselor.
Whatever avenue Teen Miss Wyoming decides to venture down, one thing is clear – the goal is to succeed.
“Chandler is really determined,” said mother Stacy. “She knows what she wants to do and it is very hard to influence her.”
The resume Chandler has built for herself is a testament to her determination and compassion for others.