Big honor for small town girl
October 1, 2020
When asked to describe a pageant contestant, one might usually describe a tall lean woman in a dress. Not many would say an under 5 foot, 6 inch gal wearing cowboy boots, but that is exactly who just won the first ever Mrs. Montana Petite. Of 300 entries, 28-year-old Jennay Ovitt from Plains won the state title. As part of the unique pageant, USA Petite, women of short stature from across the country are recognized for their tenacity, beauty, intelligence and community involvement. There are four divisions for competitors: Miss, Ms., Teen and Mrs.
The USA Petite pageant has been held for over 10 years and is the American offshoot and preliminary to the international version, Miss Universal Petite, in which winners compete from all over the world. Participants must be under five-foot-six-inches to compete and must prove their stuff by holding fundraisers, dressing up and much more. The USA Petite preliminary this year was unusual, compared to previous years, as it was held entirely online. With the effects of COVID-19 keeping people at home, entries for each state were taken online, with a photo and a written entry. After entering, to Ovitt's surprise, she won the preliminary then went on into the second round and won in that as well, to hold the title officially as Mrs. Montana Petite for the next year.
Ovitt has faced incredible odds in her journey to this title and entered as a last-minute thought. "I wanted to show my kids, no matter what you are going through, if you want to do something, go for it," said Ovitt.
Last year Ovitt was diagnosed with both ovarian and cervical cancer. Her mother had passed from the same thing around age 30, when Ovitt was only 17. During that time, she was working and going to school, as well as caring for a child of her own. When her mother passed, the responsibility of an 11-year-old younger brother fell onto her shoulders. Years later, when she herself was diagnosed with the same cancer at a similar age, her doctors took it seriously. Being dealt such a fate at such a young age, Ovitt opted for a radical surgery. After six to eight weeks of healing and recovery Ovitt returned to work. Not long after that, in the same year, Ovitt was in a terrible car accident, sending her into her front windshield. The accident set back much of her recovery from that previous surgery and she is still trying to come back from it.
Despite all of her challenges Ovitt now proudly wears her crown. She has created a Facebook profile entity to represent her alter-ego- self, Mrs. Montana Petite, called "Montana Petite Jennay." Ovitt is now trying for the next title, Mrs. Petite USA. To participate she needs to earn over $3,000 to compete for the National title, the funds for which would cover travel, hotel and competition expenses.
As part of the title, Mrs. Montana Petite is also participating in a nation-wide fundraiser for families affected by the fires in the western states. Ovitt contacted nearly every fire department in Montana personally, asking them to put the word out. Donations can be made to any Montana fire department, directed to the "USA Petite Wild Fire Relief" fund. The relief effort is also asking for physical donations of household items such as shampoo, blankets, clothes, food and more which are to be donated to either the local state title holder (Mrs. Montana Petite), or to be sent to a physical address which can be found by using the contact listed on the USA Petite website, usapetite.com. Supplies will be accepted through to the end of the year and Mrs. Montana Petite will be holding a fundraising event, partnering with the local fire departments, in Plains sometime mid-October. More information can be found on Mrs. Montana's Facebook page.
Currently, Ovitt works at her own dog grooming business, a skill her mother passed down to her. Her mobile business is called Missy's Pet Palace. She does that full time, as well as being a full-time student online at the University of Montana. There she is on her fourth year working on a double major in forensic anthropology and sociology criminology. She has three biological kids and five stepkids, with three living in house and one or two visiting every other weekend.
Those wanting to donate to help Ovitt reach Nationals can do so through her Montana Petite Jennay Facebook page. She will also be holding a fundraiser for autism, as her biological son and her stepson, have both been diagnosed with the disease. Those funds will go directly to Autism Speaks.