Tuesday, I traveled to Thief River Falls, my home town. I first visited with RehabAuthority, a leading physical therapy facility in northwest Minnesota. They are so graciously making a charitable donation to the Arthritis Foundation on behalf of Brenna's Brigade at this year's upcoming Riverfest 5/10K run! Thank you so much to Drs. Kim Rosendahl and Stephanie Weyrauch for your support! Brenna and I so greatly appreciate it!
I then performed and spoke at the Miss Thief River Falls and Miss Riverfest pageant! This pageant holds a special place in my heart, as my grandmother was at one time, the executive director of the pageant. I have vivid memories of going to this pageant many times and being able to help out back stage and my interest in the Miss America Organization was fostered from a young age. I then later went on to become Miss Thief River Falls and received 1st Runner Up at Miss Minnesota 2016. Being that this title was my first “Miss” title, it was a great learning experience and I truly enjoyed every moment. Thank you to the Miss Thief River Falls/Miss Riverfest committee for welcoming me back! I also spent time with my successor, Ashley Myers (Miss Thief River Falls) and Morgan Berg (Miss Riverfest) and the lovely ladies vying for these titles. Ashley and Morgan have done a wonderful job representing the Thief River Falls area and did a great job at Miss Minnesota this year! I am proud to call them sister queens and friends. Seeing family and friends back home is always a treat! A big shoutout to my Miss Minnesota sisters, Miss North Star committee, and all of my family and friends who I got to see at this pageant, along with all those who made this pageant possible; the committee of dedicated women, Darcy Reese and Gary Sorvig, Scott Bornholdt, Jodi and Jackie Kuznia, and others. It was also so much fun to see my other Miss TRF/Riverfest sisters as well (Brittany Johnson - Miss TRF 2014, and Tayler Myers - Miss Riverfest 2016). Congratulations to Katrina Bugge, Miss Thief River Falls 2018, and Hannah Brickson, Miss Riverfest 2018!
Wednesday morning was an early one for my Mom and I, as we traveled seven hours south to Minnesota Lake for their “FestAg” celebrations! This appearance is so meaningful to me, as last year, I had the opportunity to appear as “Miss Minnesota’s 1st Runner Up” on behalf of Madeline, as she was at MAO Orientation that time. I had a great time last year, and this year now as Miss Minnesota, was even more fun, not only because I got to come back for more “FestAg” fun, but it was also Miss America Lottery Day!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with what that means, Lottery Day is when all of the Miss State titleholders come together in an online selection and choose their contestant group and number for Miss America! It is a very fun and exciting event, as you get to see who you will be competing with in the preliminaries! Being that I was nearly seven hours away from home at this time and in rural Minnesota, I was a little worried that I would not be able to join in online, but thanks to the Miss FestAg committee and Katie and Lori Hueper, I was able to spend the afternoon in Lori’s home, where she kept us cool and collected. Thank you Lori for your hospitality!
I am Contestant #1 in the Sigma group, which means:
Interview - Wednesday Morning
Lifestyle & Fitness/Evening Gown - Wednesday Preliminary
Talent - Thursday Preliminary
On-Stage Question - Friday Preliminary
Announcement of Top 15 Finalists and LIVE Broadcast on ABC - Sunday, September 10th at 9/8 CT! Now that the official order is out, I encourage you to use the hashtag, #MissMNForTheWIN on your social media!
Back to “FestAg”… I then went to the Queen’s Tea with my teen queen, Emily, where the Miss FestAg royalty honored by other area princesses, which is always a fun get-together. Thank you to Peace United Lutheran Church for hosting us! Afterwards was the Twilight Parade, where I was so graciously driven by Tim Anderson. The smiles and waves along the way were so sweet; I even had a few kisses blown my way from a few princesses! We finally then went to the coronation of the Miss FestAg royalty, where I was given the opportunity to speak at length about my Miss Minnesota experience thus far. Thank you George for always keeping me on my toes and for doing a fabulous job emceeing the coronation! Congratulations to the new 2017 FestAg royalty! Enjoy your year!
Thursday, I had a Skype session with Polly Meyer from Image on Camera, where we continued fine-tuning my interview and speaking skills. It was a great chance to try our training in a different setting and I’m glad we could test it out! Thanks as always to Polly for her support and her never-ending encouragement week after week.
I then hopped in the car and traveled yet again to the city of Sauk Centre, where I was a judge and performer at the Miss Sauk Centre pageant!, kicking off their annual Sinclair Lewis Days! Thank you so much to Kelly and the staff at the historic Palmer House for the great accommodations for my Mom and I! This was my first time judging a pageant and wow was it fun! I loved getting to know both judges, Mrs. North Dakota International 2010 Shelly Gompf and Mrs. Lacrosse and competitor at Mrs. Wisconsin America Jodi Flach! They are phemonenally accomplished women and I look up to them fondly. Another thank you to the Miss Sauk Centre committee for the warm welcome into the community and throughout the day! I thouroughly enjoyed my time! It was fun to meet each of the candidates in their personal interviews and to see them shine on stage during the talent and evening gown competitions. I am proud of each and every one of them! Congratulations to the new 2017 Sauk Centre royalty! Have a great year!
My Mom and I hit the road once more back to northern Minnesota for the Pennington County Fair in Thief River Falls, as I was invited to sing the national anthem at the 2017 Bull Ride! This event is a highly anticipated one in my hometown, with several thousand in attendance. Not only did I perform, but I also did an interview with Clint Adkins, PBR announcer, as well as judge the “Mutton-Busting” competition (which, by the way, those kids were brave to ride those feisty sheep)! Afterwards, I was able to visit with local business fair booths in the Ralph Engelstad Hockey Arena and thank them for their support of the Miss Minnesota Organization through local and state-wide sponsorships. Thank you to Julie Olson and the Pennington County Fair board for the invitation and great hospitality! As always, it is a joy to come home and see family and friends at the fairgrounds, where many memories were made as a young child.
I traveled six hours back south to Minnetonka, where my teen queen, Emily, and I spent the afternoon at the Minnesota Autism Center Picnic Fundraiser. Seeing these kids having an awesome afternoon of family, food, and fun was heartwarming and so inspiring. This event allowed for them, along with their families, to have a great afternoon in a safe and loving environment with the 1:1 staff and student ratio. From inflatable races, dance parties, treats, and water fights, each and every one of these kids shined brightly! Thank you to the Minnesota Autism Center for allowing Emily and I to share in this special afternoon with these incredible families. We hope to come back soon! Special thank you to John Nelson from Photographycs, one of our photography sponsors, and Deb Thompson from the Miss Minnesota board, for chaperoning and capturing many great memories!
Back on the road I went! This time, it was only a four hour round trip, as I went south to Mankato for Emily’s send-off! Emily will be representing Minnesota at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant in two weeks in Orlando, FL! I am so proud of her and her dedication to this program and the ideals of the MAOT program. She has been a great representative so far and no matter how she does, she will always be my “little sis!” She was able to model all of there wardrobe and perform a mock interview for us as well, and we closed the afternoon program with a release of red heart balloons into the sky! We love you Emily! Thank you to local Miss Mankato director, Shelly Bartlett (Emily’s former local director) for hosting the event, to IndiGO Organics for the great food, and to the staff at the Cambria Gallery at the River Hills Mall for hosting us in their beautiful showroom!
On my way back to the Twin Cities, I was able to stop in Jordan, MN at “Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store!” This Minnesota must-see hosts candies and delectable delights from all around the world, including my favorite candies, Canadian Smarties (similar to M&M’s in the United States). I also stocked up on locally made fudge and taffies as well! I highly recommend a visit to this sweet shop!
Monday was filled with Miss Minnesota prep, from fitting in an intense workout, wardrobe shopping, and talent rehearsals. Preparations for Miss America take place every day, in between all of the busyness of appearances. Even though my schedule is hectic and crazy, I simply love my job and it is an honor to represent Minnesota not just around the state, but in Atlantic City.
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Thanks for tuning in to this week's "Monday Minutes with Miss Minnesota!"
Until next week, keep shining!