On a dare, Pat entered a pageant at Jefferson Beach and was crowned "Miss Michigan." She came to Atlantic City in 1939 and graced the stage in the Marine Ballroom of Atlantic City's famed Steel Pier. Her prize was The Miss America trophy. After winning the title, and without having a travel companion, Pat toured the country making personal appearances prior to World War II, and speaking to audiences around the nation about patriotism and boosting the country’s morale. She was lovingly nicknamed "The Long-Stemmed American Beauty".