Organizers and participants alike hoped to portray an image of internal beauty during their Northern Hills Pageant.
"I want the girls to learn that just because it's a beauty pageant, it's not just all glitz," participant Bryce Crouch, 16, from Sturgis said. "It's for everyone. Anyone can do it."
Black Hills business owner Bridget Gasper , Kalli Reasor and Jennifer Benson held the first Northern Hills Pageant, where 19 girls worked towards the goal of becoming Miss Sturgis and Miss Northern Hills.
Nineteen girls competed while there were seven noncompetitive Princesses were also part of the program. According to Benson, they were pleased with the turnout that they had.
"Our numbers were really close to the numbers that the other pageants in the area had so we're happy," Benson said.
Crouch said her brother inspired her to take part in the pageant, as he does in many other areas of her life. She always wanted to be in a pageant despite growing up as a tom boy.
"My brother was very persuasive. He said I had the inner beauty for it," Crouch said. "He's my inspiration for everything."
Crouch performed poetry for her talent, though she was worried that she would be the only one.
"I thought that it would be the weirdest one out of all of them," Crouch joked.
Rapid City resident Nicole McGuire, 17, competed in her first pageant at the Northern Hills Pageant and performed Zumba as her talent. McGuire said she wanted to compete in the pageant as a way to meet new friends.
"I think it's a good opportunity and experience," McGuire said. "It's always been something that I've wanted to do. There was a lot to do to get ready but it was really easy work and I think it'll be rewarding."
Eleven-year-old Jessica Benson had participated in two other pageants before and she was also excited to meet new friends, though really enjoyed being in pageants as a way to get out into the community.
"It gives me inspiration," Benson said. While Benson said she was nervous about performing, she put in at least four hours of practice and she still plans to participate in more pageants.
Contestants and organizers alike agreed that the pageant was about inspiring other girls to believe in themselves and understand that it's about inner beauty more than outer beauty.
"I hope girls get a better perception about Miss America," Benson said. "It's not a beauty pageant. I hope people get a better perception of the girls up here; they're talented, they are the top girls in the community competing."
The age groups for each pageant were ages four to seven for the Princess division, ages eight to 12 for the Little Miss division, ages 13-17 for the Miss Teen division, and ages 17-24 for the Miss division.
Girls ages eight to 17 were required to do an interview with the judges, perform a 90 second talent, answer on stage questions, and model an evening gown and active wear, such as something a girl would wear to the gym or to play sports.
In the misses division, girls performed the same tasks, though instead of modeling active wear, they modeled swim suits.
Girls who competed in the pageant are eligible to win prizes and scholarships. The only ones who are eligible to win the scholarships are the teens and misses divisions.