Posted by Carrie Wintle on Jan 11, 2019 under

The first two weeks of 2019 were spent crowning the final local titleholders for Miss South Dakota 2019. It started with the Miss Rapid City competition, directed by Sara Frankenstein. Two years ago, I competed in this local and won the Miss Rushmore title. That title catapulted my journey in the Miss South Dakota Organization. I went on to place 1st Runner Up at the state pageant that year. 

Attending local competitions is one of my favorite things to do as Miss South Dakota. It is inspiring to see other young women take the leap of faith and invest in themselves. It takes courage to step onto a pageant stage. I am always blown away by the women who are brave enough to take the leap. I arrived in Rapid City on Friday evening for rehearsal. The theme for the local was country. I was excited because I grew up on country music. We were told to bring a western themed outfit for one of the production numbers. Of course, I dusted off my hat, boots, and old ‘Huron Area High School Rodeo’ shirt.

My favorite part of the weekend was performing in the production numbers. I committed to every single dance move and channeled my inner old western cowgirl. During rehearsal, I envisioned myself throwing my hat into the crowd with a big “YEEEHAWWW” at the end of the song. However, I never had enough guts to do it. Then right before the show started, I approached Sara with the idea. She LOVED it. I LOVED it. At the end of the song during the competition, I hit the final pose, grabbed the brim of my hat, gave it a toss with the flick of my wrist, and hollered a good ole “YEEEEHAWWWWW” at the top of my lungs. In my eyes, it was legendary. And I lived for that moment. If there is one thing I’ve learned from this year, it’s that the little moments are what make this a big year.

Huge congratulations to the new titleholders: Miss Rapid City, Jackie Bossman, Miss Central States Fair, Ria Gualano, and Miss Once Upon a Festival’s Outstanding Teen, Danielle Nowell.

The following week I attended the Miss Mitchell competition. A week before I went to Mitchell High School with the director of the pageant, Tessa Dee, to recruit teen candidates. I was thrilled to see six teen candidates competing for Miss Mitchell’s Outstanding Teen. Last year, Tessa brought the Miss Mitchell competition back to the Corn Palace city and has allowed more young women to learn about the organization.

The day started with rehearsals for the competition. I did a mock interview with the judges before the candidates met them. One of my favorite things about local pageants is that I get to spend time with Jessica, Miss South Dakota Outstanding Teen. The sisterhood within this organization is priceless. That evening we crowned Miss Mitchell, Carly Goodhart, and Miss Mitchell’s Outstanding Teen, Afton Riggs. 

After the pageant, my mom and I hit the road for Vermillion. The very next day was the Miss USD local competition. This year, I served as the Executive Director for Miss USD. At first, I was overwhelmed by the responsibility. However, it turned out to be one of my most rewarding experiences as Miss SD so far.

Sunday morning, I woke up with only two hours of sleep but fueled by coffee. I was excited and anxious for a full day. The reigning titleholders, Heather, Miranda, Rachel, and Javonte, and candidates arrived in Old Main at 8 AM. I was ecstatic to have 9 Miss candidates and 3 Teen candidates competing in the Miss USD local pageant. Once we went through orientation, we jumped into rehearsal. Lynae Tucker, the ED from last year, led the production for the competition. The day was filled with anticipation. It felt so good to be back on campus, back home. I am grateful for all the titleholders and volunteers that made the USD competition successful.

Biggest congratulations to our new local titleholders: Miss USD, Anna Bonnstetter, Miss Missouri Valley, Sylvia Larson, Miss Clay County Fair, Baylee Dittman, and Miss Missouri Valley’s Outstanding Teen, Kate Dailey.