HOT SPRINGS – Sometime next Saturday night, very late into the evening when the competition is over and all the scores have been tabulated, returning host Shawn Cable will announce that one of the following 16 young ladies has earned the title of Miss S.D.
When that happens, she will join an elite group of 68 others who have climbed to the top of the pageant pinnacle in the state, and will be next representative of The Rushmore State in Atlantic City this September.
This year’s group of contestants – who will take the stage in the Mueller Center beginning Thursday night, June 18 – features a number of faces that are familiar to past pageant attendees, mixed in with a collection of newcomers who are looking to make their mark. Competition will continue next week on Friday night with the finals set for Saturday night.
Will this year’s title go to one of those first-time competitors, as it did with Alexandra Hoffman in 2008 or Morgan Peck in 2009? Or will the crown go home with one of the more experienced contestants, as it did in 2010 with Anna Simpson, or Tessa Dee in 2013?
Until Shawn reads that name on Saturday night, it’s anyone’s guess. Let the speculation begin.
The “Sigma” group will compete in On-Stage Interview and Swimsuit on Thursday, with the “Delta” group competing in Talent and Evening Wear that evening. The groups swap competition areas for Friday night.
Here is contestant info, in order of competition, with accompanying headshots.
Contestant one is Berkley Fierro, Miss Dakota Plains. She is the 19-year-old daughter of Lara and Scott Roetzel, as well as Jeff and Lindsay Fierro, from Rapid City. Berkley will offer a Vocal Solo for her talent, which fits with her platform; “Save the Music.”
Carrie Wintle, Miss Rolling Plains, is contestant two. Carrie is the 21-year-old daughter of Bruce and Susan Wintle and calls Iroquois home. She will present a Character Dance for her talent and lists her platform as “STEM.”
One new contestant is Sisseton’s Carly Goodhart, Miss Dakota Rose. Carly is the 18-year-old daughter of Robert and Lori Goodhart and will present a vocal solo of a country variety as her talent. Her platform is “Tom’s Hearty Wish: A Promotion of Heart Health.”
Contestant four, Stephanie Fischer, is another new face, competing as Miss USD. This 22-year-old calls Wall home as well as Ron Fischer and Mickie Abell as Dad and Mom. She will present a contemporary jazz dance and her platform is “Building Bridges to Literacy.”
A familiar face to Hot Springs residents is contestant five, Autumn Simunek, Miss Oahe, who is a Hot Springs native. This 22-year-old daughter of Kelly and Diane Simunek will offer a classic pop vocal for her talent and her platform is “5 Stars of Serving Those Who Served.”
Contestant six is Rachel Evangelisto, and 18-year-old from Rapid City who is this year’s Miss Meade County. She is the daughter of Nick Semmler and Mia Semmler, whose platform is “Girls Can Too!” and who will present a “Praying Mantis Kung Fu,” demonstration as her talent.
Maggie Stiles, the 2015 Miss Brookings, is another new competitor. Hailing from Lakeville, Minn., this 21-year-old daughter of Mike and Tina Stiles will present a unique blend of “Auctioneering and Country Vocal” as her talent. Maggie’s platform is “Chocolate Milk: Building Healthy Bodies and Kids One Glass at a Time.”
The final Sigma group competitor is contestant eight, Miss Heartland, Evy Johnson. Evy is the 20-year-old daughter of Allen and Leota Johnson and calls Firesteel her home. She will offer a Show Vocal as her talent and her platform is “I am That Girl: Love, Express and Be Who You Are.”
The Delta group’s first contestant is Miss S.D. contestant nine, Maria Anderson of Sioux Falls, Miss Gold Rush. She is the 20-year-old daughter of Mark Anderson and Tammy Anderson, who will present a Tap Dance as her talent. Maria’s platform is “Healing Young Hearts: Mentoring Children with Divorced Parents.”
Contestant 10 is the 2015 Miss State Fair, Katie Barnett, a 19-year-old Wagner native. Katie will present a Contemporary Piano solo for her talent and her platform is “With a Healthy Heart, the Beat Goes On.” Her parents are Jerry and Judy Barnett.
Another new contestant this year is Alexandra Smiley, a 21-year-old, who enters as Miss Rushmore. She is from Kadoka and will do a Vocal and Guitar solo for her talent and her platform is “Buckle Up.” Amy Smiley is Alexandra’s parent.
Brittanie Venard, Miss SDSU, is contestant 12. She is the 22-year-old daughter of Bob and Sherrie Venard and is from Sioux Falls. Brittanie will present at Lyrical Dance for her talent and her platform is “No One Walks Alone - Fighting Cancer Together.”
Rayna Pearson of Sioux Falls enters this year’s pageant as the 2015 Miss Sioux Falls. She is the 22-year-old daughter of Chris and Shannon Pearson. Her talent is “Seed Painting” and her platform is C.A.S.A.
Contestant 14 is Miss Hot Springs, Megan Lipp, from Rapid City. She is the 23-year-old daughter of Dennis and Rhonda Lipp, who will present a Lyrical Dance for her talent and whose platform is “Uniquely Amazing.”
Another returning competitor is Julia Olson, Miss Siouxland. She is the 22-year-old daughter of Mark and Brenda Olson and is from Spirit Lake, Iowa. Julia will offer a Classical Vocal solo for her talent. Her platform is “JumpStart – Early Childhood.”
Then final contestant is another familiar face, Alexia Vandersnick, the 2015 Miss Rapid City, who represents her hometown at this year’s pageant. She is the 21-year-old daughter of Mark Vandersnick and Brenda Vandersnick and will present a Contemporary Dance for her talent. Alexia’s platform is “Realizar: Be the Change.”