Amidst two jobs, service projects, school and the University Singers, Victoria Ruble decided to once again compete in a pageant and won the title of Miss Ball State University 2018. At the center of it all was her family, Ruble said. 

“My parents were really big on working hard for what you want, so that was something that really resonated with me growing up,” Ruble said. “At the time, I didn’t think it was so nice of them, but, looking back, I still have that same mentality.”

Ruble grew up in one of the few minority families in the small town of Garrett, Indiana, and attended a private Catholic school until high school. 

Because of her experiences growing up, Ruble was compelled to not only teach people, but also be an example of serving those in need.

“I helped initiate this thing called Safari Cares when I was nine. My mom’s boss at the time would go to Africa and deliver personal items and toiletries and supplies to kids in villages who couldn't afford it,” Ruble said. “He would send us pictures back of them coloring and using the things we sent over. That was the first service project I ever did, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, these are real people I’m helping.’” 

She enjoyed playing sports like basketball, softball and gymnastics, and after watching her older sister compete, she decided to give pageants a try. 

“The very first year I competed, I just loved the stage. My mom taught me a pom routine and that was fun. My grandma also made my dress to go along with the Fourth of July theme, and my sister competed with me, so that was really awesome,” she said.

Ruble won various pageants and competed until her first year of high school, when she decided to take a break.  

“I waited a few years to compete and I regret this to this day,” Ruble said. “I wasn't sure I was ready when I was 13, so I waited.” 

At 15, Ruble began competing again and won first runner-up four times in one year. The year after, she won first place and was able to compete in Miss Indiana Teen.

She also juggled various activities and three jobs throughout high school. Her senior year, she decided to take another break from pageants to prepare for college. 

When Ruble came to Ball State, she said she immediately fell in love with the campus and now can’t hold back from telling people about it.  

“On my social media, I’m one of those weird people that’s like, ‘Ball State everything,’ and ‘Chirp chirp everything,’ and people are like, ‘Okay, we get it, you like Ball State,’ but I really do,” Ruble said.

Ruble is now a sophomore studying business, and while she never planned to compete in the Miss Ball State competition, the directors eventually persuaded her to do so. 

At this year’s competition, Ruble competed against three other women and won the title of Miss Ball State, as well as best interview, best talent, the Miss Cardinal Spirit title and award money, which will be used to pay for her tuition. 

Sami Johnson, who was Miss Ball State 2017 and is a senior telecommunications and journalism major, said judges look for a few different things in each year’s Miss Ball State. 

“Not only are we looking for [a] woman of high scholarship, style, success and service to others, which are the four main pillars of the [Miss America Organization], but we are also looking for a true Cardinal who can represent Ball State University and the Muncie community to the best of her ability,” Johnson said.

In the competition, each contestant is required to support a certain platform, whether that be promoting an existing organization that serves the community or pursuing their own cause. Ruble created her own platform entitled Redefining CommUNITY.

“It kind of focuses on implementing after school programs, volunteerism and community centers in every community because I have a really diverse background,” Ruble said. “I’m very used to people kind of wondering what ethnicity I am, but that’s what inspired my unity platform. I’ve learned from my own experiences that serving others really kind of helped me break barriers.”

Ruble hopes to use her title as a way to make a positive impact in both Ball State and the Muncie community. 

“I honestly think our nation’s issue is that we try to tackle issues like unity on a very large scale,” Ruble said. “I think the only way to make that large scale change is to get every community to start implementing these things on a small scale like serving others and putting other people before yourself.”

As Miss Ball State, Ruble can be seen around campus attending various activities and events, but she is also involved on campus through organizations like the University Singers and her work for the Ball State Foundation. 

“Victoria has a contagious smile and attitude that she portrays every single day,” said Johnson. “She truly cares about this university, its students and its potential. She will carry the crown perfectly for the next 12 months.”

Contact Justice Amick with comments at jramick@bsu.edu.