Patricia “Tricia” Schimpf, who has worked as a sternwoman for the last 11 years, is running for Miss Maine of America on April 11 as Miss Hancock County. A self-professed tomboy, Schimpf says she has always been intimidated by makeup and getting glamoured up. We think she wears it well.  PHOTO COURTESY OF ZI PHOTOGRAPHY

From Grundéns to glamour gown


BAR HARBOR — Next month, sternwoman Patricia Schimpf, 33, will hang up her fishing overalls to don an evening gown and compete in the Miss Maine for America Pageant.  

“I kind of see myself as the Sandra Bullock of the group,” said the Town Hill resident, referring to the actress’s character in Miss Congeniality. “I’m trading in my Grundéns for a glamour gown and my boots for heels.”

Schimpf, who goes by Tricia, was approached to compete in the pageant by Tashia Porter, who is running in the Mrs. Maine America Pageant. Both women are representing Hancock County in the competition that takes place on April 11 in South Portland. 

“It’s a totally different opportunity that I would have never chosen for myself,” said Schimpf, who calls herself a tomboy, explaining that she has respect for those who wear makeup and do up their hair. “I’ve always been kind of intimidated by it.”
Having to put on makeup to take glamour photos has not been the only challenge for Schimpf in preparing to run for the title. Part of the pageant is creating a judges file in which she has to choose a platform and list hobbies, training and interests. 

“It’s been one of the hardest things to say who I am and what I stand for,” said Schimpf, who graduated from Ellsworth High School in 2006.  

Perhaps it is pinning the description down to the required number of words that is difficult, because Schimpf has plenty of experience in her portfolio. She played sports throughout high school and since then has pursued her interests in singing, both recreationally and professionally, photography and organic agriculture and greenhouse growing. She has worked as a veterinary technician, organized and performed music for domestic abuse awareness fundraisers and birthdays for terminally ill people, trained in boxing and selfdefense and assisted in instructing women’s selfdefense classes. Most recently she has helped raise funds for a group called Home Cooked Healing that makes meals for people going through cancer treatment.  

It is her experience in the male-dominated fishing industry, however, that is helping shape Schimpf’s platform. 


“Quite frankly, I think it’s time to redefine what it means to do things like a girl,” she said, referring to people using that as a representation of weakness. “In a lot of things, I can say doing things like a girl has benefited me… I’ve also dealt with a lot of sexual harassment. I’ve been sexually harassed out of jobs. There’s not a lot of accountability for how women are treated.” 

When she began working on a lobster boat 11 years ago, women were not a common sight on the water. These days, she sees more and more in the industry.  

“To get where I’ve gotten, I’ve had to be better,” said Schimpf. “Everything I have, I have done myselflike a girl, by myself.” 

That was until she decided to run for Miss Maine of America and had to reach out to her community for sponsorships and support. To drum up support, Schimpf posted a request on her social media page.  

“I was basically on the verge of tears for a week straight after I posted it,” she said because the response was overwhelming. “I have been very emotional from all the love and support I have been receiving. It’s not just me. It’s the whole community behind me.” 

As she puts together the details for the different categories that include a personal interview, opening production number and cocktail dress, swimsuit and formal gown competitions, Schimpf is leaning on local artists and craftspeople. One example is wearing sea glass jewelry, made by someone she knows, that accents her swimsuit.  

“I’m trying to be creative and unique without straying too far outside the lines,” said Schimpf. “I’ve gotten my evening gown… It’s about you as a collective; how confident you are. You want to wear the dress, not have the dress wear you.” 

This year’s event is a bit different than in the past with each contestant allowed to have one person in the audience and the majority of the attendants watching virtually. Despite the lack of people watching them on stage, the pressure is still real for the five contestants in the Miss Maine for America Pageant.  

“It’s being in the spotlight as I’ve never experienced before,” said Schimpf, whose mom will be her one in-person cheerleader. “People are more afraid of being on stage than they are of dying.” 

As she makes her way to southern Maine next month, there is no question Schimpf will have plenty of people cheering her on who have had a part in getting her there, including her cohorts at Cranberry Isles Fishermen’s Co-op.  

“The way everyone has pulled together, it takes a village to raise kids and to run for a pageant,” she said, adding this is an entirely new frontier. “As long as I don’t have to twirl anything, I’ll be fine.” 

To learn more or to purchase a ticket for the pageant, go to 

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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