For Abby, 2017 has been a year of dreams come true.
A native of Danville, Illinois, she started competing in pageants in her home state five years ago.
In January, Abby won her local pageant and the title of Miss East Central.
"I knew I was going to Miss Illinois, but I was really young and I was going to see what I could gain from the experience and hope to earn some scholarship money to go back to school," she says.
In the meantime, she auditioned for the Colts Cheerleaders in March and made the team.
"We went on the calendar shoot and I went to training camp and all of that. So, I was spending quite a bit of my time with the Colts in Indianapolis."
Her cheer sisters offered her support, not only as a rookie cheerleader, but also as a local titleholder in Miss America. The Colts Cheerleaders have close ties to the Miss America Organization.
"I spent some time chatting with Lexie and Sammy and Rose, who had all competed in the Miss America system, so I was kind of getting their advice and outlook on it."
In June, Abby went to Miss Illinois – and won.
"It was just a big surprise and when I was getting crowned, I think my mind kind of went blank for a little bit, honestly. It was so unexpected," she says. "The next morning, I woke up and realized, 'Oh my gosh, how am I going to do it all?'"
Preparing for Miss America is basically a fulltime job. And that's what Abby has been doing since she was crowned Miss Illinois.
"It definitely is a fulltime job, just like Miss America. I'm out here just hoping to do my best and see how it goes. I'm really excited. This is something I've been wanting for a really long time."
Although it's kept her away from her cheer sisters, it's also brought her closer to them.
"They're always checking in, asking what I need, how can they help – so, that's been a huge asset," she says. "That was my biggest concern when it first happened, was how would they react? But they've just proven that we are a team. They're great girls and they're supportive of everyone. We all have different goals and aspirations outside the team, so the fact that they can be supportive through all of that really helps."
And it's exciting for them to see Abby representing the Colts Cheerleaders on one of the biggest stages in the world.
"I tell people all the time the two organizations are actually a lot more similar than one might think," she says. "Just like being a Colts cheerleader – being Miss Illinois, I have two hours to entertain a crowd. But then we spend countless other hours doing community service and practicing and doing things behind the scenes that people don't always see and appreciate."
Abby arrived in Atlantic City last week and she's been in rehearsals every day since then. The preliminary competitions start Wednesday and lead up to the big event on Sunday night.
And she'll have a team of people behind her in New Jersey, Illinois, and Indiana.
Abby's 2018 Colts Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar Shoot in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
"I have over 80 people coming out to Atlantic City to watch, so it's going to be a huge group. And they're just so thrilled," she says.
This year, Abby has earned the title of Miss East Central, Colts cheerleader, and Miss Illinois.
Will she add Miss America to the list?
Tune into ABC on Sunday, September 10th at 9:00 PM ET to find out. And if you're hoping to see Abby compete in primetime, there's only one way to guarantee it.
"We get to introduce ourselves, but only the top 15 get to compete. So, that's why I've been pushing the People's Choice – because if you're the 15th girl, you're automatically able to compete in the first round on TV."
Good luck, Abby!
Colts Nation is behind you – and we couldn't be prouder.
You can vote for Abby as the People's Choice for Miss America through Tuesday, September 5th by clicking here.