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Ciara O'Neal, mom of three, competes in Mrs. Oregon pageant on March 17 at West Linn High School.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Mrs. Multnomah County dons her official sash and hangs out in the kitchen, always a center of busy family life. Mrs. Multnomah County, Ciara O'Neal, has never done a beauty pageant before, but is headed to the Mrs. Oregon pageant next month.

"My husband's grandmother emailed me and said "I think you'd be a great Mrs. Oregon,'" the 29 year-old mother of three said. Grandmother should know what it takes, she was Mrs. Oregon in 1964.

A lot has changed since the earlier days of the Mrs. Oregon and Mrs. America competitions. The contest used to judge the married women on their homemaking skills as well as their poise and beauty.

These days contestants are judged on an interview, facial beauty and in swimsuit and evening gown competition.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Ciara ONeal and her family.O'Neal has not yet selected a gown, but is shopping for one. The contestants all wear the same swimsuit for the competition.

To be eligible to participate, a woman must be over 18, be married and live and pay taxes in Oregon. Ciara (pronounced Key-ara) O'Neal was named Mrs. Multnomah County through a written application.

O'Neal said she is the youngest candidate for Mrs. Oregon 2018. The oldest is 52.

A graduate of Eastern Oregon University, La Grande, O'Neal presides over a household of three kids, Madeline, 8, Savannah, 5, and Jack IV, 1, a handsome dog named Carter and two cats, Skidface and Mr. Muggles.

She's been married to her husband Jack III since 2009 and said he is supportive of her foray into the world of pageants.

"'You should do this,'" he told me, she said.

She works at Rigert Elite Gymnastics, Troutdale, in the office, coaching and organizing birthday parties. Her daughters are enthusiastic gymnasts. She volunteers at Corbett schools where her older children attend school.

Mrs. Oregon will be named at a pageant on March 17 at West Linn High School Performing Arts Center, 5464 West A St.

The winner will move on to the Mrs. America pageant and then Mrs. World.

Said O'Neal: "I think it will be fun. It will be a great experience, win or lose, to put myself out there in this way."

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