Mrs. Falcon Colorado Elena Flannery Mrs Colorado Pageant April 2023
People on the Plains by Erin Malcolm

People on the plains 

Mrs. Falcon 

By Erin Malcolm 

On April 5 through April 8 at Void Studios and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, Elena Flannery, also known as the “Mrs. Falcon” title holder, will get glammed up and saunter onto the pageant stage as she competes for the title of Mrs. Colorado. 

Flannery said the experience of competing in the Mrs. Colorado pageant is not all about looking pretty in front of the judges; it’s also about making a difference in the world by serving in her chosen areas of purpose and passion, and by sharing her life story. 

That story began in California where Flannery was born and raised. She spent her first 23 years growing up on the central coast beaches of San Luis Obispo. 

One of the most pivotal moments during that time was when, at 19 years old, she gave birth to her first child, a daughter. “She’s my reason why I do what I do,” Flannery said. 

Her pregnancy and the birth changed Flannery’s life and set her on the path to what would later become her blossoming career and passion: fitness and community. 

She said, “I had gained over 80 pounds with the pregnancy, and they needed to give me an emergency C-section because my blood pressure was so astronomically high that they were afraid I might stroke out or have a heart attack at age 19.” Flannery recalled immediately snapping out of the familiar teenage “I’m invincible” mentality. She said, “Almost losing my life was really scary. And I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to get healthy. I have no idea what that looks like, but I need to do something.’”

At 240 pounds, she kicked off her fitness journey with water aerobics classes at her local gym as soon as she was cleared for exercise. She said it was alarming and hard to set foot in a gym at all, but slowly her confidence started to build and she began to lose weight. “And then, I walked into my very first spin class and that’s where I felt my heart say, ‘One day, I want to be that instructor,’” she said. 

That’s exactly what she set out to do.  

After diving head first into fitness, losing over 100 pounds on her own, and participating in 5Ks, 10Ks and triathlons, Flannery moved to Colorado in 2012 with her husband, who is in the military, and enrolled in an 18-month program at IntelliTec College, where she earned her associate degree, Personal Trainer Certification and a few other fitness certifications. 

Although Flannery said the family was happy living in Colorado, the military had other plans that kept them traveling, from California to Washington D.C., for years. “Our ultimate goal has always been to get back to Colorado and plant roots.” 

They achieved that goal in June 2022 when they purchased their home in Falcon. Flannery, her husband, and their 15-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son can’t get enough of the small-town feel and beautifully wild scenery found so close to home. “We just love it out here,” she said. “We’ve moved around a ton of times, but this is what I call our final resting place.” 

Flannery has wasted no time settling in and contributing to the community.

She currently puts her many fitness certifications — Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Zumba, Holistic Nutritionist, TRX (total resistance exercise), spin cycling certifications and more — to good use through her work at the Meridian Ranch Recreation Center, where she teaches cardio strength and spin group fitness classes. She said her favorite part of teaching group classes is getting to help foster the connections the students form and the “awesome friendships.” She has helped organize weekly neighborhood walks and outings for her class members, such as hiking the Manitou Incline. 

Flannery is big on community and connection outside of the gym, too. “I’m the key spouse for (my husband’s) squadron,” she said. In this volunteer position, she supports military families and service members and acts as a point of contact for help or resources they might need. She has also found joy in hosting events for military families, where parents and children can make friends and have fun together. “For me, being a military spouse and moving so much, it has been really hard. So, it’s important to me to give back to the military community and make sure that our families and kids are taken care of,” she said. 

Flannery first competed in pageants as a young child with her brother, and then hit the stage again in 2018 for an NPC bikini competition (body building) called Clash of the Titans in Parker, Colorado, (where she won first place), so she is no stranger to the stage. 

“I’m using this as a second chance to go back out on stage, but to do it for more than just, ‘Hey, look at my muscles,’ It’s more like, ‘Hey, this is who I am.’ This is my story. And this is how I want to share it with the world to help other people,” she said. “Anyone can go up on stage and wear makeup and all these beautiful clothes and look really pretty and carry yourself well, but I feel it’s really important to share the parts of you that the world needs.” 

She already shared a little about this side of herself through her biography that she submitted during the Mrs. Falcon application process. 

Flannery will share it in person on day two of the pageant, during the interview portion, where she’ll be interviewed about the biography she provided to a panel of five to six judges, which counts for 50% of her overall score. Flannery said the interview is what she is most nervous about, but also what she is most excited about. “That’s my time to really share about the things that light my heart and soul on fire,” she said. 

In addition to the panel judge interview, the 40 contestants, including Flannery, will also participate in a series of evening gown and swimsuit walks.  

Flannery is working hard to prepare for all aspects of the pageant. “I’ve modified my diet and exercise routine to help me feel my strongest … when I go up on stage in my swimsuit and my evening gown,” she said. She has also been practicing walking on stage in high heels. 

The 2018 Mrs. Colorado has also acted as a pageant coach for Flannery.

The winner of the pageant will be crowned Mrs. Colorado and can then go on to compete for other titles, as well as serve her community and state through the platform that the title provides. 

If Flannery is crowned Mrs. Colorado, she would like to pursue two of her passions. “One would be bringing military families together and having events statewide that create the community that we seek, especially when there’s new people moving here and they don’t have friends or family nearby. I want to make sure that there’s constant events going on statewide where people can connect,” she said. “And the second thing I would want to do is really bring health and fitness into the state even more by having organized hikes and fitness events where people can, again, come together and create community and connection — but it’s not necessarily military focused. So, through both of those, what I want to do is create community and connection between people.” 

Win or lose, she is excited about the personal growth that has stemmed from this experience so far. “When I first started researching (the pageant), my first thoughts were, ‘That’s so scary. Why would anybody do that?’ But I realized that’s why I need to do it. Because it scares me. So, anything I can do to challenge myself to grow, that’s what I have to do. The person I want to become is on the other side of that fear,” she said.  

Flannery’s family will be at the pageant to support her in the competition. One of her main hopes through this process is to set an example for her teenage daughter. “She’s the No. 1 person I want to show that you can literally do anything you want, no matter your age or background or whatever.”

Mrs. Falcon: Elena Flannery, who holds the title of Mrs. Falcon, will compete in the Mrs. Colorado competition April 5 through April 8 in Denver. 

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