Monday, September 19, 2011

July 2011

July seemed to be the month of parades as I drove off to Dickinson for Roughrider days. I arrived at 9am and was greeted by a golf cart waiting to take me to my morning radio interview with KDIX. After my interview we drove back to the marshaling area so I could quickly change into my dress and hop onto the convertible right as the parade was starting.  The weather was perfect for the parade and for the rodeo following it. There I met up with Miss Dickinson 2012. I enjoyed talking with Cassie Ridl while we were signing autographs at the rodeo. She has an incredible personal connection with her “heart health” platform and I know she is going to have an amazing year!

July 4th brought the annual Mandan 4th of July parade. Like every year, we had hot weather and a big crowd. All of our state title holders from the youth division are from Bismarck this year and it was so nice to have them all together. I rode behind our Miss North Dakota’s Outstanding Teen, Kylie Helm, and Jr. Teen Miss North Dakota, Shae Volk. Once the parade was over, I went to visit my great grandparents at their home in Mandan. That night I spent time with my family and later watched the fireworks at the State Capitol with my dad and Levi. It was a perfect end to the day!

On the 7th I visited Sid Hardt at Clear Chanel Radio to record my PSA for Miracle Treat Day on August 11th. On the 9th I was back on the road to Selfridge, ND for the Centennial. This small town is where my dad was born and raised. He was so proud to have me attend the celebration, ride in the parade, and sign autographs. I was asked to introduce the fashion show and later in the day I rode a mechanical bull. Getting tossed off was more fun than I expected it to be, but I had a soft place to land! I met so many new people when I was in Selfridge and had the chance to spend time with family I do not see often because many of them no longer live in ND. Thank you to the Centennial committee for inviting me.

For the next few weeks I studied for finals in my two summer classes and finished my homework for the summer. On the 21st I traveled to Medora to speak to the Class A School Superintendents on my platform of Ronald McDonald House Charities. I felt so blessed to have an audience with these individuals and asked them to invite me into their schools to speak to students about raising awareness, funds and hope for RMHC. When my meeting was over, my dad and I went to the Badlands to do a photo shoot. Hiking in heels turned out to be more difficult that I thought it would be, but we got some great pictures of me in sky blue gown surrounded by spectacular scenery!

On the 22nd and 23rd Miss ND’s Outstanding Teen held a car wash to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. Over two days Kylie raised more than $1,000. Later that week I was invited to the Ronald McDonald House Charity Golf Tournament at the Apple Creek Country Club. I had dinner with Kathy Keiser and her husband, spoke to and thanked the participants and people who donated to the event, and handed out door prizes. On the 28th I visited the summer theater I was a part of for 4 years. Sleepy Hollow is a program that allows youth to express themselves through musical theater. I was so grateful to be invited back as a SHST alumni to speak before the last production of “Bee Hive.” I had a blast that night with my mom as we watched the show. The singers were amazing and I loved that they included the audience in the songs!

I have no idea where July went! Already I have spent over a month as Miss North Dakota and it gets better every day. God truly blessed me with a wonderful month. Here’s to 10 more!

Ariana Walker
Miss North Dakota 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

JUNE 2011

“You must give up the life you had planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you” - Joseph Campbell

From the instant I heard the words, “And our new miss North Dakota is ….,” my life has been forever changed. Since being chosen as Miss North Dakota 2011, I have been on the ride of my life. I was thrilled to have so many family members and friends in the audience Saturday night to share that special moment with me. Being crowned Miss North Dakota is a dream come true! After attending the pageant for years and watching so many take their first walk as the new Miss North Dakota, it was surreal to finally be on the other side of those curtains after they closed on finals night.

Sunday morning I woke up feeling like the whole night had been a dream, but reality soon set in when I realized I had a busy few days ahead of me. My first stop was a breakfast meeting with the judges where I learned some valuable tips to take to Miss America in January. I was interviewed by radio, TV and print media in Williston. And I was named an honorary Rotarian for the year!  I also met with my wonderful board of directors and received a large amount of Miss America paperwork to take home with me after spending ten days in the great city of Williston.

I came back to Bismarck to a schedule quickly filling with appearances and events. My first day back I had an appearance at Rib Fest with my Culture Shock dance studio family, and I ate a lot of BBQ with my boyfriend Levi! That Saturday, my family and I packed the car (we never really unpacked it) and made our way to Glendive for the Miss Montana pageant. There I performed a revised version of my Orange Colored Sky dance solo and welcomed a new sister into the MAO family. Taryn Chuter was crowned the new Miss Montana! She is a beautiful dancer and such a smart young woman. Thank you to the Miss MT board for making me feel so welcome!

June 20th was another busy day. In the morning, I was welcomed back to KFYR radio 550 to talk about the Miss ND pageant and my plans for the year ahead. It was a blast talking with Phil and Jason. I always leave the studio laughing! That afternoon, I participated in the United Way Day of Action helping the YMCA Day Camp kids plant sunflowers and paint pictures of gardens. The theme for the day was growth.  That same week, I met with my college advisor to re-work my class schedule for the coming school year and continued to work on MAO paperwork. On Saturday, my mom and I traveled to the Miss Dickinson preliminary pageant where I had the chance to co-host the pageant with Miss Dickinson 2011, Jessica Obritsch, and spent some time talking with former Miss ND Annette Olson. Congratulations to all of the girls who competed that weekend! I am excited to say we already have three new 2012 local titleholders.

June 27th had me off to Williston again to finalize some paperwork and have my official Miss ND photo shoot with Terri Rider of Terri Rider Photography, followed by a wonderful dinner with Renee and Jerry Rogness and a good night’s sleep at the Haugen’s, my host family. The next morning I finished up some Miss America paperwork with Marian and Liz and met with Basin Printers to pick out my personalized stationary, appearance brochures, and autograph cards. Driving back to Bismarck, my dad and I went through Minot and witnessed the devastating flooding first hand. My prayers are with the thousands of Minot residents displaced by rising waters.

June has been a month to remember as I continue welcome the life that is waiting for me. Looking back, I realize I am so lucky to have the support of my family and friends. In just one month, I have met so many new people who I know will play a huge role in my life. I am grateful to have everyone on the Miss ND Board of Directors helping to guide me. I am honored to have the wisdom and advice of all the former Miss North Dakotas. I am blessed to have my faith to keep me strong and my family to keep me level-headed. I know in my heart that this is going to be a year I will never ever forget!

Ariana Walker
Miss North Dakota 2011