Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
MURRAY — Beauty queen Mallory Rogers is a tough competitor. She's smart, articulate, can dance and sing, and she's got a mean right hook.
Rogers recently won the title of Miss Murray after four years of trying. Pageant director Leesa Lloyd says it's Rogers' intelligence, self-confidence and perseverance that earned her the victory.
"She's a determined young woman," Lloyd said. "She's a fighter; Mallory is a fighter."
In fact, fighting is a quality Rogers has worked on improving every single day: She's also a boxer.
"I mean, the level of self-confidence that you have when you know your body is strong and capable …," Rogers said. "I've always been active. I took my first dance class when I was 3 years old."
For years, Rogers danced; and then she took up a different kind of footwork.
"My father boxed. He won the 1978 Dallas Golden Gloves," Rogers said, explaining why she chose the sport. "My grandfather, he boxed in the army; and my uncle, he won two Dallas Golden Gloves."
"It didn't occur to me that girls could box," she added. "It didn't even occur to me that that was a possibility."
And then she watched an on-flight movie about boxing and saw what was possible.
"I thought, ‘I could do that. I could try that,'" Rogers recalled.
She was 15 years old when she stepped into the boxing ring for the first time. "I think it was the challenge that was appealing to me. It was something different. It was something totally out of my comfort zone," Rogers said.
"It's like playing violent chess," she continued. "It's not about beating somebody up, it's not about hurting your opponent, it's about beating them. It's about out-strategizing them and being a better fighter."
Her mom thought it was a phase. "At first I thought, ‘Oh, it's a phase. It'll pass,'" Peggy Curtis said. "That was my honest feeling."
Lloyd, who's now coaching Rogers for the upcoming Miss Utah competition, had another concern.
I'm not a state queen, I'm not Miss America. I mean, if I have a black eye, that's who I am. The judges decided to make me Miss Murray for a reason, and I'm not going to hurry up and change who I am so I can put a crown on my head.
–Mallory Rogers, Miss Murray 2012
"Mallory, your face!" Lloyd recalls saying. "You're in pageants!"
"I'm afraid of getting hurt. Yeah, of course, I am. Somebody's coming at me. It's gonna happen, and it has happened," Rogers said, adding that she's had a lot of bruises and some black eyes. Her mother said Rogers has even received a concussion.
"I think that, hopefully, as it gets close to Miss Utah, that maybe she will lay off it for a while, because going to Miss Utah with a black eye would not be great," Lloyd said.
"I'm not a state queen, I'm not Miss America," Rogers said. "I mean, if I have a black eye, that's who I am. The judges decided to make me Miss Murray for a reason, and I'm not going to hurry up and change who I am so I can put a crown on my head."
Despite her concerns, mom says she wants Rogers to stick with boxing. "I would not want Mallory to change at all," Curtis said. "She wouldn't be happy."
On stage or in the ring, Rogers remains true to herself — even if she gets a black eye in the process.
"This is my home: a boxing bag, a boxing ring," she said. "It's where I feel like myself."
Rogers wants to win the title of Miss Utah and a Golden Gloves trophy. But it's tough to find matches because there are so few women boxers, especially in her weight class.
Rogers is a senior at the University of Utah and is planning to go to medical school.