Contestants shine at pageant in Rugby
Young women, teens and elementary school girls sang, danced and paraded in glittering gowns on Rugby High theater’s stage in the Miss Rugby and Miss Geographic Center Preliminary Pageant, held the evening of Saturday, August 11.
Contestants aged 5-25 vied for titles in categories such as Princess, Miss Rugby Outstanding Teen, Miss Geographic Center Outstanding Teen, Miss Rugby and Miss Geographic Center in the pageant. Dave Trottier volunteered his time as Emcee for the program.
Rugby community members Kate Halvorson, Jason Gullickson, Dana Thoreson, Jack Knutson, and Jennifer Stewart all served as judges. Rounding out the list of pageant volunteers were Mandie Medalen and Holly Rosel, Auditors; Tami Ness, Judges’ Chairperson; Josephine Wolf and Kiara Larson, Stage Assistants; Julie Grove, Backstage Assistant, LaRae Senechal, Admissions; Bonnie Berginski, Intermission, and Angie Wolf, Pageant Photographer.
Pageant Committee members were Karisa Maus, Carissa Hoveland, Jennifer Dockter and Ashley Wangler.
Although the program moved along at a mostly smooth pace, a technical glitch caused contestant Mackenzie Fuller’s microphone to malfunction during her vocal rendition of A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes. Because of this, Emcee Trottier announced Fuller would be allowed a chance to sing her song again after the 15-minute intermission.
After Fuller completed her performance, judges tallied their final scores, and Trottier announced the winners of the pageant, which is the local phase of the Miss America pageant program.
Special guests on hand to help crown winners were Micah Schlittenhardt, Miss North Dakota’s Outstanding Teen 2018, and Miss North Dakota 2018 Katie Olson. Brooklyn Klein, 2018 Miss Rugby Outstanding Teen and Miss Rugby 2018 also appeared on stage to pass their titles to their successors.
Ilanora Peterson, Mayville, was crowned Miss Outstanding Teen/Rugby. She will go on to Williston to compete in the Miss North Dakota Teen pageant next year, along with McKenzie Fuller, Garrison, who was named Miss North Dakota Outstanding Teen/Geographical Center.
The Miss Geographic Center title went to Emily Prock of Minot. Prock is a recent UND graduate, majoring in education.
“It feels really awesome,” said Prock, who described herself as an “Air Force kid. I thought last year would be my last year competing for Miss North Dakota, being the age limit that it was, but, once that age limit went up to 25, it became a way for me to win more scholarship dollars, and a way to get my platform out there and do more work with that.”
Sabrina Wolfe, who grew up in the Carrington area, won the Miss Rugby title. She told the Tribune the $700 Miss Rugby scholarship prize would “definitely help.”
“I would say (Miss Rugby) isn’t so much a pageant as a scholarship program, because it is a big part of what the Miss America program stands for scholarship, and service, and style,” Wolfe noted. I think scholarship means the most for me, especially since I’m going to school for six years, and it’s very hard to go to school for six years and not dig yourself a hole with loans. I definitely appreciate the scholarship money.”
Wolfe is a pharmacy student at North Dakota State University in Fargo with three more years to go in her studies. When she travels to the state pageant in Williston next year, she will join her sister, Hayley Wolfe in the competition. Hayley will represent West Fargo. “We always say we’re not competing against each other; we’re competing with each other,” Sabrina laughed.
Rugby Pageant Director Mandy Kuhnhenn said local organizers face challenges when they seek contestants for the Miss Rugby/Miss Geographic Center Pageant.
“Our goal is to get the younger princesses and get them into the program and build the program that way, rather than to get the older girls,” she said.
Six Princess Pageant winners received their crowns this year. Princesses were Bella Grove, Paisley Wangler, Savanna Dockter, Adella Maus, Jesse Wolf, and Ellamae Richter.
Both Kuhnhenn and Co Director Sandra Wolf said their interest in the local pageant began when their daughters entered the Princess Pageant.
“We were princess moms,” Wolf said and laughed.
Kuhnhenn said of the Miss Rugby, Outstanding Teen and Geographical Center program, “I think it’s enjoyable to get to know these girls, and to be a part of their year, and be a part of representing us in Rugby. Then, we go to Williston, and watch them compete, and have that experience.
Both Kuhnhenn and Wolf had these words for people viewing pageants in a negative light: “Come and watch.”
“A lot of people we ask to judge get to see this behind the scenes. They get to see how talented and smart these girls are,” said Kuhnhenn.
Both also encouraged local girls and young women to consider involving themselves in the program.
“A $700 scholarship is nothing to scowl at,” Wolf said.
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