Posted by Carrie Wintle on Jul 04, 2018 under

“Happiness is like a cat. If you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you. It will never come. But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you’ll find it rubbing up against your legs and jumping into your lap.” – William J Bennett 

This is one my favorite quotes, for obvious and not so obvious reasons. As you can imagine, the entire quote revolves around a cat. How could I not love it? The not so obvious reasons require a little explanation. The past two weeks of my life have been blissful – happiness that only the Lord can provide in His own timing. The dream of becoming Miss South Dakota became mine over ten years ago. I worked earnestly and persistently towards this job, but that is not to say I didn’t have moments of doubt.

I competed for Miss South Dakota a total of 5 years – but I call it 6. The first three years I was chasing happiness. The title. The crown. During my first two years at Miss SD I was elated to have made top 8. Then, came a pivotal year where the Lord pushed me to question my motives. My third year at Miss South Dakota I won my first preliminary award (ever), but I did not make top 8. Just like any disappointment in life, this one was hard to swallow. However, as I look back on my experience I am so thankful for that much needed wakeup call from the Lord. 

As much as I told myself I wanted to be Miss South Dakota during those first three years, I wanted it for the wrong reasons. I wanted it for the happiness I thought it could bring me. I was chasing an un-chaseable thing.  I decided to step away from the competition and figure out if Miss South Dakota, the JOB, was still something I wanted. Therefore, I call 5 years of competing at Miss South Dakota 6. The year I did not compete but instead took time to reflect on myself and the Lord’s plan for me was one of the best things I could have done. I refocused my sights on the job of Miss South Dakota, not the happiness depicted through the crown and title. 

Through the Lord’s courage and strength, I persevered. The past two years I competed at Miss South Dakota as my authentic self. I showed my heart, my tenacity, and my drive for the job at hand. In reference to William J. Bennett’s quote, I “went about my business.” These past two weeks of blissful happiness were possible thanks to the Lord’s plan for me and His guidance in trusting that plan without fail.

On Tuesday, I visited the Huron Park and Recreation Day Camp. Cameron Schroder, one of my Miss South Dakota Outstanding Teen and fellow Miss SD competitors, invited me to come speak about the organization. I love how spontaneous kids can be. During the visit, I asked if there were any questions. One day camper raised her hand and asked, “Do you know Yankee Doodle?” I responded, “Of course.” To which, she and the entire class promptly started singing Yankee Doodle. Just a little reminder, that it is always the right time to burst into song and brighten the day. 

Another highlight of the week was when Governor Dennis Daugaard followed my @MissAmericaSD account. This past year, I received a Governor’s Proclamation for Money $heep Monday on April 30, 2018 in recognition of the 10,000-book state-wide donation from Money $heep and to celebrate Financial Literacy Month. It is an honor to have his support.

On Wednesday, I stopped by a Dakota Family Dentistry, a long-time supporter of the Miss South Dakota Organization, to thank them for their continued support. Afterwards, I stopped by Charleston’s baseball game. Charleston is Callee Bauman Wachter’s, Miss South Dakota 2006, son. If you are looking for an entertaining afternoon, look no further. My favorite part of the game was when Charleston was on 3rd base as the batting team. He proceeded to field balls and throw them back to the pitcher before running home. A very multi-talented baseball player, if I do say so myself.

Thursday was an exciting day. I travelled with my mom and executive director, September Kirby, to the Black Swan to pick out my Miss America evening attire. Going into the appointment I had no idea what I was looking for, which made me uneasy. Leaving the appointment, I was grinning ear to ear. Tune into Miss America to see my gorgeous choice.

Friday was another busy day back in South Dakota. I woke up early to do a phone interview with Brookings radio. After explaining that I don’t sing, they invited me back on August 22 for a little Karpool Karoke. I wonder what would have happened if I said I did sing? Later that day I visited Kathleen Mackey Christensen from the Beauty Room for a much-needed eyebrow wax and Erin Miller from Chameleon Hair Design for a trim. Before heading home, I stopped in Mitchell at KORN Country 92.1 for another radio interview.

On Sunday evening, my mom and I road tripped to Pierre for pictures with the infamous Bob Grandpre. I am not sure I have ever laughed so much. Bob captured some fun pictures with the Pierre Trail of Governors statues and even made me look good in front of my beauty of a car, Rosie. Nikki, Miss South Dakota 2005 and Bob’s daughter, stopped by. It was so much fun to see my Miss SD sister and get to know her a little better. I cherish those moments.

The week ended as my mom and I left Pierre with our sights on Spearfish and Mount Rushmore.