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Casper resident Teka Perry crowned Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming

Teka Perry poses with the Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming judges after being crowned 2023's Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming. (Tommy Culkin, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — After a series of interviews, Casper resident Teka Perry was crowned the 2023 Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming on Saturday, and will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for disabled people across Wyoming and beyond in the coming year.

“It’s exciting,” Perry said. “I’m really looking forward to going and sharing my story and raising awareness. There’s really nothing that I’d rather do.”

As a contestant, Perry had to choose a platform to base her advocacy around, and she chose being a disabled mother.

“My kids are my whole world,” she said. “My kids won’t look at me or anyone else differently. They know I’m a little bit different and not as able-bodied as everybody else, but I want to instill in them that they shouldn’t worry about what other people look like or anything like that.”

Perry, a quadriplegic, was paralyzed from the chest down following a serious injury in a car crash roughly three and a half years ago. Since then, she said, acclimating to her disability has been a process.

“It’s certainly been interesting,” she said. “There were some difficult times, but I’ve been working through them. I’ve been powering through it and pushing forwards.”

In more ways than one, Perry doesn’t let her disability slow her down. In addition to raising her two children, she’s also very active in the community and is a regular sight at events throughout Casper.

“Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you can’t be your best self and do whatever it is you want to do,” she said.

In addition to speaking events throughout the state she will take part in, Perry will also be traveling to the national Ms. Wheelchair event in Michigan later this year.

Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming, which is just in its first full year and is a part of Ms. Wheelchair America, is an organization that celebrates women in wheelchairs and their leadership, achievements and advocacy.

Masha Flinn — who served as the Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming delegate in 2020 and 2021 and currently serves as the organization’s coordinator — said advocacy and education are much needed with regards to the disabled community.

“Society doesn’t always see disabled people as having as many accomplishments as they do,” Flinn said. “In my class for nationals, some of the women were CEOs, moms (and politicians). … Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean your life has to stop. It just means your life has to be planned out in a certain way.”