Miss America 1944 Stops Thief with Her .38

Venus Ramey, Miss America 1944, may need a walker but that doesn’t stop her from running down would-be thieves.

Venus Ramey Miss America 1944 Photo Venus Ramey is shown with her dogs Tuesday, April 17, 2007, near her property in Waynesburg, Ky. Ramey, who was crowned Miss America in 1944 caught a man she thought was stealing from her farm in south-central Kentucky, she shot the tires out of his vehicle so he'd be stuck there until police came. (AP Photo/The Interior Journal, George Lewis) Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle’s tires and stop an intruder.

Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment. Ramey said the man told her he would leave. “I said, ‘Oh, no you won’t,’ and I shot their tires so they couldn’t leave,” Ramey said.

She had to balance on her walker as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.

“I didn’t even think twice. I just went and did it,” she said. “If they’d even dared come close to me, they’d be 6 feet under by now.”

Ramey then flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911.

Curtis Parrish of Ohio was charged with misdemeanor trespassing, Deputy Dan Gilliam said. The man’s hometown wasn’t immediately available. Three other people were questioned but were not arrested.

After winning the pageant with her singing, dancing and comedic talents, Ramey sold war bonds and her picture was adorned on a B-17 that made missions over Germany in World War II, according to the Miss America Web site.

Ramey lived in Cincinnati for several years and was instrumental in helping rejuvenate Over-the-Rhine historic buildings. She returned to Kentucky in 1990 to live on her farm. “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.

This story won’t get the attention of the debauchery of recent beauty contest winners Tara Conner or Katie Rees but it’s a much more interesting story. They just don’t make ’em like they used to.

Gone Hollywood

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Another tidbit on Ms. Ramey: she was the first redhead to be name Miss America.

  2. Anderson says:

    Mmmm … Katie Rees …

    –oh, yes, what? Go, Granny Ramey, go!

  3. My favorite was the 89 year old granny in Dallas who was confronted by a burglar. She pulled out a six shooter and chased him off. Only two slight problems. First, she continued to chase him out of her house and into the street, popping off shots as needed. Second, her eyesight wasn’t to good, so she failed to tag the burglar.

    The DA did an inverse Nifong. She was clearly guilty. In Texas you can use deadly force to defend your home, but you aren’t allowed to chase them down the street with your gun blazing. But at the same time, big bad burglar and poor little old granny is not the stuff of DA re-election in Texas when Granny is up for time in the big house. So he used his proctorial discretion to decide not to bring charges. No one had been hurt (though there was certainly potential for harm given her eye sight). Burglar wasn’t likely to start demanding prosecution since the DA would have no problem throwing the book at him for breaking and entering. And putting the idea into criminal’s heads that defenceless old grannies might not be so defenseless would make his job easier.

  4. carpeicthus says:

    But on the other hand, imagine what Tara would do packing heat.