Miss SDSU, Miss Brookings winners crowned

Brittany Westerberg

Brittany Westerberg

Talent, sparkles and high heels crossed the Doner Auditorium stage as the 19 contestants for the Miss SDSU/Miss Brookings pageant competed for the titles and the chance to go on and compete for Miss South Dakota and, perhaps, for Miss America.

The theme this year was “Ladies Night,” and featured Miss SDSU 2007 Cori Bortnem and Miss Brookings 2007 Rose Heeb as entertainers.

“This pageant is the preliminary for the Miss America Pageant,” Callee Bauman, Miss South Dakota 2006 and Mistress of Ceremonies for the night, said. “It allows women from this campus to [compete to] represent South Dakota in that prestigious national pageant.”

Alexandra Hoffman won the title of Miss SDSU 2008. For her talent, she sang “Even Now,” and her platform was battling obesity. During her onstage question, she said that her dream goal is to become a reporter for ESPN. Hoffman also won the swimsuit section, the talent portion and the newcomer award.

Elizabeth J. Gouin won Miss Brookings 2008. Her platform was drug and alcohol awareness, or “The Power of A Choice,” and for her talent she sang “Under The Sky.”

First runner-up was Jordanne Blair, who also won the People’s Choice award. Second runner-up was Theresa Knutson. Miss Congeniality was Rachel Poppinga, whose talent was interpreting the song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz in sign language.

After several practices in the past weeks, a private interview with each of the contestants was held with the judges on Nov. 4, which made up 25 percent of the competition. The women then paraded on stage Nov. 6, competing in the several different sections, including Talent (35 percent of the competition), Onstage Question (five percent), Swimsuit (15 percent) and Evening Gown (20 percent).

The judges scored each girl individually on a scale from one to ten and the scale is based on how well each girl did versus how well she could have done, Bauman said. The highest score getters became Miss SDSU and Miss Brookings.

During each of the Onstage Questions, the contestant was asked about her different platform and why she had chosen it. The platforms covered a wide range of subjects, from suicide prevention and the March of Dimes to wind energy and saving the arts.

Contestants were also asked something about one of their hobbies or interests. One contestant, Anna Winter, was asked what the most important thing she had learned during modeling classes was.

“Be absolutely confident,” she said. “If you have that, even if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can still pretend that you do.”

The talents the girls displayed ranged from vocal talent, a jazz trumpet recital, baton twirling, a gymnastics routine, a poetry recitation and a monologue.

Both Miss SDSU and Miss Brookings will go on next year to compete for the title of Miss South Dakota 2008.