Venus Ramey (Photo: MissAmerica.org)
Tough isn’t a word necessarily associated with Miss America, but three thieves arrested after their truck tires were shot out by 82-year-old Venus Ramey might beg to differ.
Ramey, who won the elite beauty crown in 1944, confronted one of the three robbers on her farm in Waynesburg, Ky., about 140 miles south of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
“He was probably wetting his pants,” said Ramey, who balanced on her walking stick as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.
Ramey said thieves for some time have been breaking into a building on her property where she stores century-old steel-shaping machines and other equipment to sell for scrap, according to the Enquirer.
On April 13, while feeding horses, she followed her dog when it ran over to the building, where a truck was parked in front.
She confronted a man who told her he was “scrapping” and would not leave.
“I said, ‘Oh, no you won’t,’ and I shot their tires so they couldn’t leave,” Ramey told the Cincinnati paper.
She didn’t think twice about shooting.
“I just went and did it. If they’d even dared come close to me, they’d be 6 feet under by now,” she said.
Ramey flagged down a driver who called 911, and three people eventually were arrested, including one at the scene.
“They’ve been stealing from me for years. Those good-for-nothing slobs,” she told the Enquirer.
Ramey began as a showgirl at the Beverly Hills Supper Club then ended up in Washington, D.C., working for the war effort, where she won a beauty contest. In 1944 she became Miss America, representing the District of Columbia.
She was the first redheaded Miss America and the first to be photographed in color, according to her bio on the beauty contest’s website.
Ramey performed in vaudeville, and her picture adorned a B-17 bomber that flew 68 missions over Germany in World War II.
According to the Miss America website, Ramey was sought out for a major Hollywood film by legendary producer Milton Sperling of Warner Brothers Studio. But she was disgusted with show business and returned home to her Kentucky tobacco farm, married and began raising her two sons.
In Cincinnati in the 1970s, she helped lead a civic renewal project and made an unsuccessful bid for City Council.
Ramey returned to farm life in 1990 but hasn’t found it entirely tranquil.
“I’m trying to live a quiet, peaceful life and stay out of trouble, and all it is, is one thing after another,” she said.