Posted by Carrie Wintle on Aug 27, 2018 under

Better late than never. Isn’t that how the saying goes? The past few weeks have flown by, as I’ve been preparing to compete for the job of a lifetime – MISS AMERICA. In the meantime, there have been several events throughout South Dakota that I have been a part of. Week 7 brought ice cream and snakes. Let me explain.

Miss America is the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. As a candidate in the Miss America Organization I created several fundraisers for CMNH. First, I dress up as Ariel for Rent-A-Princess parties. In exchange for a $150 donation to CMNH, I attend a birthday party as Ariel, lead crafts, play piano, crown the birthday girl, and play princess bingo. Second, I started the Holiday Card Collection in South Dakota. Four incredible Miracle Children (Maci, Ellie, Jaxon, and Julia) drew holiday designs, which I turned into greeting cards and sold just in time for Christmas. Finally, two days before Thanksgiving I baked 30 pies for Pies for a Purpose. The day before Thanksgiving I drove around South Dakota to deliver pies to families in exchange for a donation to CMNH. As Miss South Dakota, I get to spend the year making appearances on behalf of and raising money for our Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Miracle Treat Day was on August 2. Every year Dairy Queens partners with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. A dollar or more of every blizzard sold at participating Dairy Queens goes to CMNH. I visited five different Dairy Queens in the Siouxland Region. I started the day at the Minnesota Ave DQ in Sioux Falls. I must say, not a lot beats making ice cream at 10am. Then I drove over to the Western Ave DQ to greet customers and do a radio interview about Miracle Treat Day. Best part of the day – seeing Jaxon and Jeren. My Sioux Falls stops rounded out with the DQ on Kiwanis Ave where I ran into Payton, Miss Siouxland’s Outstanding Teen. Next, I drove down to Canton’s DQ. They had a fun raffle and a mobile zoo outside. One of my favorite parts about being Miss South Dakota is running into familiar faces. My high school friend, Kristi, stopped by, and I ran into my 4th of July Parade Princess, Felicity. 

To round out the day, I spent the evening in Madison, South Dakota. The Dairy Queen in Madison sells more blizzards on Miracle Treat Day than any other Dairy Queen in the COUNTRY. Let that sink in. I had never been to Madison on Miracle Treat Day, and if you haven’t either, you should. They block off the street and fill it with games for kids. There is a live band. It is like a Dairy Queen CMNH carnival. I loved meeting kids, signing autographs, and eating obscene amounts of ice cream. 

On Saturday I was off to Aurora (east of Brookings) for the Gala Days. Nothing beats a small-town celebration. Elizabeth Hofer, Miss Sioux Falls, shared the day with me. We rode in the parade, ate fried pickles, and held a snake. Well, I watched her hold a snake. During the parade, I spotted Miss South Dakota 2008, Alex Hoffman Bisson. Alex was Miss South Dakota when I was Miss SD Outstanding Teen. Immediately when I saw her, she ran up to the car to give me a big hug. After the parade, I got a text from her, “That car definitely ran over my toes when I gave you a hug. WORTH IT.” I busted out in laughter. Apparently, part of the car tire rolled over her toes, but stopped momentarily, giving her just enough time to pull her foot out before it rolled over her entire foot. The Miss South Dakota sisterhood is something I cherish.