Ms. Wheelchair Florida more than a beauty pageant

Ladies from across the state came together on a University of South Florida stage to compete in a pageant, but the women vying for this pageant's top spot are much more than pretty dresses and fancy hairdos.

This particular pageant honors the smart, talented women of Florida - who happen to be in wheelchairs.

The Ms. Wheelchair Florida 2016 pageant featured an inspiring group of young women who encourage others to learn, inspire and motivate those around them. Organizers say the competition is not a beauty pageant, but serves as a platform to recognize the most accomplished spokeswoman to advocate for more than 54 million Americans with disabilities.

The winner of this year's pageant, Heather Lucille Taylor will begin a year of traveling and public appearances. As the Ms. Wheelchair Florida winners have done before her, Taylor will appear before communities, business professionals and the Legislature, promoting awareness for the architectural needs of people in wheelchairs. She will also educate people about the attitudinal barriers facing those with disabilities.

Ms. Wheelchair is a non-profit program staffed by volunteers all over the country.