THE ASSOCIATED PRESSMiss America didn't look like she just got off a two-hour flight, or
like someone who has traveled about 20,000 miles a month since winning her crown in January.
Lauren Nelson was too cheery for that.
The 20-year-old Lawton native and aspiring Broadway actress beamed, glowed and beamed again - maybe she's actually enjoyed living out of a suitcase for the past several weeks - at a welcome-home celebration Wednesday afternoon at Tulsa International Airport.
Save for a covert, one-night stay with her parents in Lawton amid the frenzy of the past few months, Wednesday was the first time Nelson was back on Oklahoma soil.
So, what's it been like so far, Miss America?
"A complete whirlwind,'' said Nelson, as cameras flashed and a few dozen friends closed in … hugs, kisses, balloons and bouquets at the ready. "I've gotten pretty good at packing.''
Nelson won the tiara Jan. 29 from fellow Oklahoman Jennifer Berry, making the state the first to produce consecutive winners since Mississippi did it in 1959-1960.
Her return kicks off several days of events in Tulsa, Lawton and Oklahoma City.
"This has been the one thing I've been looking forward to the most,'' Nelson said.
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