Alyssa George's father was tickled that his daughter finally won a competition.
"She's always been real competitive and athletic, and she's done a lot of things. But rarely does she take the top honors," Rodney George, Minneapolis, Kan., said jokingly. "In her words, she owns second place."
For example, he said, she qualified in four events at a high school state track meet and came in second in all four, missing first place in at least one event by less than a second.
"She just got nipped every single time," he said.
But not on Saturday.
She defeated 21 contestants to be crowned Miss Kansas 2007 in Pratt, where she also won the swimsuit competition, the Instrumentalist Award and the Kansas State Ambassador Award.
"I was very, very shocked," Alyssa George, 21, said Monday of exceeding her goal to place in the top five after competing in the pageant in 2004 and 2005.
Since winning the competition, the Kansas University junior has had to put her education plans on hold. The avid Jayhawk fan and member of Chi Omega sorority won't be attending school this summer or next year with hopes of graduating in May alongside her best friend.
"It's been very emotional," she said. "I'm excited because I have this new chapter in my life and I get to start a whole new world of things. But I am also really sad because I was recruitment chair and Rock Chalk director for my sorority and those are two things that I absolutely love."
Not only is she passionate about KU, but she also has strong feelings for stopping bullying in schools. As Miss Kansas, she will be promoting "Bullying: The Bystander Effect."
"A lot of programs will put an emphasis on the victim and an emphasis on the bully, and my main focus is making sure the emphasis is on the witness - on the students who know what is going on and not reacting," she said. "They essentially have the most pivotal role of all in rendering any power in the situation.
"Gov. Sebelius has mandated that all schools have bullying prevention programs, so it's the perfect year for me to win Miss Kansas."
Besides speaking to students and adults about bullying, she will be preparing for this winter's Miss America contest; an official date hasn't been set.
"I am hoping to bring home the title," she said of her goal to start a new streak of coming in first.