Posted by Carrie Wintle on Jan 09, 2019 under

Week 23 AND Thanksgiving week. A week filled with pure joy. This year I get to spend Thanksgiving as Miss South Dakota. I am thankful for my family who never stopped believing in me, my friends who continuously cheer me on, and my Savior, Jesus Christ, for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

The week started off with a photo shoot at Craig Lee Studios in Huron with my teen queen, Jessica. We laughed the entire time and kept Craig on his toes. I had some pretty stellar ideas for photos, even if only one of them actually turned out. All the ideas worked in my head. I can’t wait to see Craig Lee’s photos.

After the photoshoot, my mom and I put on our cat aprons and started baking pies. Last year I started a fundraiser for CMN called Pies for a Purpose. I take pie orders, make them two days before Thanksgiving, and deliver them to people around the community, just in time for Thanksgiving. I love this fundraiser for lots of reasons. First, I get to spend the afternoon baking. Second, I get to watch Hallmark movies while I bake. Third, I get to spend quality time with my mom. Fourth, I get to raise money for CMN.

One of the greatest blessings of this year is getting to spend so much time with my family. I love my parents dearly. They have shown me what it means to let your heart love. It opens your eyes to a brighter world. A fuller world. Not to mention, spending time with my brother, Clark, has been something I cherish.

After all the pies were baked to perfection, my mom and I drove around Huron to deliver the pies the day before Thanksgiving. My family spent Thanksgiving day with our neighbors, Margaret and Darrel Reuer who live down the road. And when I say down the road, I mean 10 miles. Sometimes my friends get confused that my “neighbors” live miles away. I guess that what happens when you live in the country. We spend every holiday with Margaret and Darrel and their family. I have a small family. It is just my brother, my mom, my dad, and I in South Dakota. Margaret and Darrel have shown me that family is more than blood. I love family. Their three daughters were at Thanksgiving dinner with their families. It was quite the celebration. The grandkids even let me throw on my crown and sash for a couple pictures.

Friday my mom and I were on the road for Hot Springs. This was my first trip back to Hot Springs since my crowning. Remind me to go back more often. Hot Springs is a treasure in South Dakota. Maybe I partially love it so much because it reminds me of the adorable communities in Hallmark Christmas movies. Regardless, the community of Hot Springs has given so much to the Miss SD Organization. It was heartwarming to be back.

On Saturday, we crowned two new local titleholders that are heading to Miss South Dakota. Big thanks to Leanne DeRouchey for putting together a great pageant, yet again. I had a blast hosting the pageant with Jessica. I’m honestly surprised they keep giving us the microphones. But I LOVE it. We always make it memorable. Congratulations to Sarah Scott, Miss Christmas in the Hills, and Kaitlin O’Neill, Miss Hot Springs. We also crowned two teen queens, Lauren Whyte, Miss Christmas in the Hills Outstanding Teen, and Cate Berkheimer, Miss Hot Spring’s Outstanding Teen.

Immediately after the pageant was over, Jessica and I were on the road to get to Rapid City for the Parade of Lights. Jessica’s family put together a beautiful float featuring “The Greatest Snowman.” And, guess who joined us? Miss Wyoming Outstanding Teen, Taylor. It was such a surprise to spend the day with her and time with Jessica. I love Christmas as Miss South Dakota.

Until next time, friends.