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