- Cullman, Alabama

July 21, 2013

2 local women vie for Alabama Nursing Home Queen

By Tiffeny Owens
The Cullman Times

— Two Cullman women are among 10 ladies bound for Hoover to vie for the crown of Alabama Nursing Home Queen.

Elaine Blankenship, 79, will represent Woodland Village and RuthAnne Salser, 73, Cullman HealthCare. Both ladies will compete in the annual pageant at The Wynfrey Hotel Monday, continuing both nursing homes’ tradition of sending residents to the pageant’s top 10. Blankenship and Salser have spent the past week putting the final touches on their formal attire and studying for judges’ questions.

“You just have to be yourself, and your answer should come from your head and your heart,” Blankenship said.

Salser said she’s thrilled to compete and plans to keep a journal of her experiences at the pageant.

“I’ve always been a country girl,” Salser said who was treated to her first pedicure and manicure this week. “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve very excited. This is something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”

Blankenship will be cheered on by some of her fellow Woodland Village residents and her family who will drive down to watch the pageant. Salser’s family visited her Friday ahead of the her leaving for Hoover.

“Before the pageant here at Woodland Village, I had never stepped on a stage before. That was big for me,” said Blankenship as tears filled her eyes. “I just don’t want to disappoint anyone.”

Both women said they’re looking forward to meeting the other contestants and the judges.

The Loft donated the mauve, shimmery gown Blankenship will wear while Salser found her black and white sequin pantsuit out shopping this past week. Both women credit the efforts and enthusiasm of their respective activity directors, Michelle Lynn at Cullman HealthCare and Mary Tilley at Woodland Village, for their placing in the top 10. Lynn and Tilley completed the application process, including submitting a DVD of each contestant, for her respective residents and have helped coordinate their outfits, hair, makeup and jewelry.

The top 10 will be narrowed down to the five, and the queen will represent the Alabama Nursing Home Association and tour facilities across the state to promote the organization.

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Tiffeny Owens can be reached at or 256-734-2131, ext. 135.