Miss Motorhead 2019

I had a burst of make-it-happen, build-it-they-will-come energy back in January. I wanted a local pin-up contest. Or at least a contest I didn’t have to drive over three and a half hours to get to. And so I did some research on the local car shows, picked two and emailed them, giving them this whole spiel about pin-up contests, what they are, what they’re like, and why their show would benefit from one. Pin-up contests haven’t really made it into the car show culture up here in the Northland yet. Friends of mine further into the mid-midwest seem to have a bounty of pin-up activities.

Personally, I blame our snow.

One of the car shows got back to me, and basically said, "great, do it.” They gave me the go ahead on January 31st, just seven weeks out from the car show.

I had an oh-crap-what-did-I-do, now-I-have-to-plan-this-thing moment.


Motorhead Madness is an indoor car show up here in Duluth. This was their 51st year! I was able to check out the event on Friday during set up, and then again Saturday morning, both times wearing dresses I made from patterns by Gertie Hirsch.


Okay, I had to do a plug for those freshly-sewn dresses. Now back to the story!

I did some preliminary planning, and chatted with a gal I met on Facebook, Beth, who organizes contests in the Wausau, WI area. She was super supportive, and assured me that I had this, despite the ticking clock.

Beth was just the first in a series of amazingly supportive women who kept saying yes to me. They were excited about the contest, about what I was doing, and about being a part of it all. I’m unbelievably thankful for every single woman who showed me the love over the past month. Beth, the twenty-one girls who signed-up, Lela of Lela Wright Make Up and Hair Artistry, Christi of Grinkie Girls Photography, the friends who came to cheer everyone on, and the friends who cheered me on from a far.

Now that it’s over, it’s easy for me to focus on all of these wonderful people that made it a success. But it is worth mentioning that it didn’t come together like magic. I heard a lot of “no” along the way too. From photographers, from sponsors, from the newspaper, from the tv station. I’m going to be honest and tell you that even the Motorhead Madness coordinator was surprised at our success (she told me during set-up that she had thought I’d only get 3-5 people to sign up). So it’s not to say that it was smooth sailing. Direct quote from a local shall-not-be-named body positive photographer, that I asked to help get the word out: “I just don’t get pin-up”. (I would have been less offended had she just told me “no”, haha).

But, that probably makes me even more thankful for the people that did give the show all their support from the get-go.

And truthfully, I’m still a little floored that this event happened at all. A pin-up contest isn’t a pin-up contest unless you have contestants. And though I was hopeful about it all,. I was amazed every time a new person signed up. Somehow, I managed to get 18 contestants (my goal was 15, my maximum was 20) and at one point, I even had 21, though those other three had to drop for personal reasons. Eighteen the first year, when this isn’t even a “thing” in our area is pretty darn awesome.

Duluth Pin-up contest, Miss Motorhead Madness

Personally, I took to the stage as the emcee for the event.

Shirley Shasta pin-up contest

Round one, the contests do pin-up poses while their song plays and I read a short bio on each of them (where they’re from, celebrity crush, pin-up inspiration, life motto, etc).

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Shout out to my BFF sailor girl here, Daisha. <3

Round two, the gals each picked a random question and answered it.

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Then I hurried back stage to help my SIL tally scores, and we announced the winners!

Simple, right?

Then why is it so nerve-wracking as a contestant?!


Duluth Pin-up contest, Miss Motorhead Madness

I will say this is the hardest thing about pin-up contests, to me. The fact that not everyone wins, haha. Which sounds a little cheesy, but really. Every girl put themselves out there, and I was so proud of all of of them, and just wanted them all to win. Maybe next time ;)

Here’s your 2019 winners, Miss Peachy Keen (Miss Betty Bubbles), Miss Classy Chassis (Miss Betty Van Blonde), and Miss Motorhead (Vivian Von Sweets).

Duluth Pin-up contest, Miss Motorhead Madness

You should have seen the dance Vivian here did when she won the title. She’s the blur on the left, haha.

Duluth Pin-up contest, Miss Motorhead Madness

Her mother was heard after the contest saying, “I hope we didn’t create a monster” haha!!

Thank you, Lela, for sending me this montage of the many phases of VIvian Von Sweet’s joy.

Thank you, Lela, for sending me this montage of the many phases of VIvian Von Sweet’s joy.

The crowd was FANTASTIC. I know we impressed a lot of people, and have more people on board for next year in all areas, from marketing to contestants. The show organizers were surprised at the crowd and said we need more room next time! (Yaaaasss!)


These are my local, Poplar mom’s group girls. They blew me out of the water when they signed up for my crazy idea and they absolutely gave it their all.

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This is my favorite picture from the whole day. I love these ladies.

Duluth Pin-up contest, Miss Motorhead Madness

After the contest was over and we cleared out, I called my husband the moment I had a chance, in a fit of post-performance anxiety, “Was it okay, did I do okay?” Pretty par for the course for me, if it’s not a heavily rehearsed production. The contestants did wonderful, but I was anxious about my side of things. It got very hectic for me that last hour, and the whole contest was a blur. Overall, for the first year, I’m really please with how everything went. And I’m ready to make it even better next year.

Duluth Pin-up contest, Miss Motorhead Madness

One of the best things that came out of this was meeting Becky, aka Brody Bombshell. This girl is a true pin-up (no, for real, check her out!), and she was 100% on board with helping to make this happen, and keeping the pin-up ball rolling here in the Twin Ports.

Enter the Border Town Betties, a pin-up social group for the Twin Ports. My goal is to have an event a month; organize photo shoots, contests, events like hair and make-up demos, socials like bunco, etc. Like the page to keep up on our happenings, if you’re local.

Thanks for popping on and checking out Miss Motorhead 2019 <3

Candid shot here, brought to you by Christi!

Candid shot here, brought to you by Christi!