Former Riley Festival queen in running for Miss Indiana

GREENFIELD — Kyla Brummett never expected to find herself competing in the Miss Indiana competition, but she has found pageants to be a powerful way to spread awareness about epilepsy, a cause close to her heart.

Brummett, a 2011 Greenfield-Central High School graduate, competed in a Miss America Organization pageant in 2005, winning National American Miss. She was crowned Riley Festival queen in 2009, but then she didn’t compete again until 2015, when she was chosen second runner-up at the Miss Indiana University pageant.

“I always knew about Miss IU, but I had no idea that it led into Miss America,” she said. “I thought you just represented your university.”

She won the Miss Wabash Valley pageant in 2015 and the Miss Hoosier Heartland pageant this year, she said, and she will compete in the Miss Indiana pageant June 12 through 18 in Zionsville.

Competing in pageants opened doors for Brummett to speak up about epilepsy, a seizure disorder that affects her brother, Drew.

“The Epilepsy Foundations of Indiana and America have given me so much love and support throughout this process,” she said. “I’m honored to have so much support from a national organization.”

She recently attended a community action network meeting with the Epilepsy Foundation of Indiana, where she was able to meet and speak with staff members and board members.

As a result of brainstorming with the foundation, she created an epilepsy support group at Indiana University — Bloomington, where she is studying sports marketing, with minors in business and theater.

Election of officers for the support group will take place this fall, she said, and then members will be able to perform community service projects related to epilepsy.

“It’s for full- or part-time students who have epilepsy or who have loved ones with epilepsy,” she said. “So many people approach me saying they know someone who has seizures. You’d be amazed how many people know someone.”

While creating her epilepsy group at IU and finishing her undergraduate degree, Brummett is preparing for the Miss Indiana pageant by completing community service projects throughout the state. She handed out water and medals at the Carmel Marathon on April 16.

Whatever the results of the Miss Indiana competition, Brummett said she’s grateful for the platform to educate people about epilepsy as well as the opportunity to meet so many gifted, young women.

“All of these girls are my friends,” she said. “I’ve never had a more gifted, talented, kinder group of friends in my life. They push me to be a better person.”

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.