Mattos places high at Mrs. USA Ambassador Pageant
By Kyle Mooty
Kirstie Mattos’ journey that took her from Lockhart to South Dakota, has hardly slowed down as the Mrs. South Dakota Ambassador placed 2nd runner-up at the Mrs. USA Ambassador Pageant last week in Orlando, Florida.
Mattos won the Photogenic Natural and People’s Choice at the event.
“It was awesome,” Mattos said.
She was in Lockhart for a few days following the event along with her husband, Alan.
Kirstie and Alan left Lockhart with their young son, Astraios, and moved to Chamberlain, South Dakota where they become House Parents at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Kirstie, eight months pregnant at the time, was an engineer and Alan was working for Pegasus School when a stray bullet from hunters hit him in the knee.
“It’s still in his knee,” Mattos said of the bullet. “It definitely changed our life, big time. My husband was out of work for a whole year. It was really hard. I waddled into the hospital and my husband was on crutches behind me. He ended up being a stay-at-home dad for the first year of our son’s life.”
Astraios, now 2, was born during Texas’ “Snowpocalypse.” But she, Alan, and three friends moved from central Texas to become House Parents in South Dakota, where they soon became known as the Texas Five. They were soon known as the Crazy Five when they were seen enjoying the snowy conditions in -11 temperatures.
“We love it,” Mattos said. “I’m a military brat. I’ve lived in Germany. My husband is a small-town Texas boy, but he loves it too.”
Mattos participated in the supermodel portion at Nationals, something she only did after getting a sponsorship from Watech Bowl, a Native American restaurant in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“I thought I might as well try it,” she said. “If my girls in the future want to try it out, I figured I could kind of give them a play-by-play.”
Her uncle, Robert Orcutt, also happened to be in Orlando while the pageant was taking place and visited Mattos. Her family livestreamed the pageant from Lockhart.
Mattos also got sponsorships out of the Chamberlain, S.D. community, helping with flights and other matters.
Mattos supports bringing awareness to Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, not just for South Dakota and the United States, but Canada as well.
The Mrs. Ambassador category had 15 contestants, including Texas.
“The USA Ambassador Pageant focuses more on community service versus the glam aspect of it and just wearing the makeup and looking pretty,” Mattos said. “Their slogan is Slicc – Success, Leadership, Integrity, Character and Community. For me, being five-foot and not likely to wear makeup, I liked this one because of all the things they represented.”
Mattos has received support from as far away as Alaska, Quebec and Alberta in Canada, and all across the U.S.
“I’ve received jewelry, dresses, necklaces, various pieces from different tribes across the United States and Canada,” she said. “What I do when they send me stuff is I try to get them one of the shirts I’ve made (for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.”
Lockhart has been especially supportive, particularly her home church – St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
“People have dropped off things for my kids,” she said. “They are making sure the kids have the things to continue doing this. My goal is to continue teaching the kids how to sew, and the next time they go to Nationals or even just the State, they can wear clothing they’ve made themselves. For example, I made my runway piece that represents my Taino culture.”
Next up on Mattos’ mind is trying to create a fashion show for her girls at their house.
“I’ve had friends from all over South Dakota and Lockhart asking how they could get their kids in pageants,” she said. “I’m trying to create a fashion show of our own with the president of the school.”
Recently cleared from cancer, Mattos understands she will not have any more children. However, she feels as if she has a house full of them.
“The girls help out and they tease him (Astraios),” Mattos said. “They treat him like a little brother.
“The cancer is all cleared, but I cannot have any more children. I feel like God put us in that place so we could have all the kids. Even though I can’t give my son a sibling, he has hundreds of siblings to watch out for him. That’s the best feeling.”
Mattos, of Taino descent, is a 2011 graduate of Lockhart High School. She is the daughter of Angel Mattos and Daisy Mireles, and granddaughter of Jimmy and Toni Mireles (Guadalupanos of Lockhart’s).