HOT SPRINGS - Tessa Dee, a 22-year-old graduate of the University of South Dakota from Mitchell was crowned Miss South Dakota 2013 late Saturday night at the Mueller Civic Center.
“It’s sinking in a little bit more,” said Dee Sunday morning, after a night of hugs and happy tears, but little sleep.
“I got about three hours of sleep and woke up to see the crown on the shelf in my room. It became a little more real then!”
Dee, the daughter of Jodi Dee, topped a field of 15 other local pageant winners to claim the top prize and the automatic entry into the Miss America Pageant, set for September in Atlantic City, N.J.
Dee won the Swimsuit competition at this year’s Wednesday night prelimiary.
For her win, Dee will receive more than $14,000 in scholarships, as well the use of a vehicle for her reign from Hills Edge Auto in Hot Springs.
Morgan Black of Rapid City, the Talent preliminary on Thursday, was first runner-up and will receive more than $5,000 in awards.
Hot Springs’ Autumn Simunek was second runner-up for the second consecutive year, receiving a $1,300 scholarship from the Miss S.D. Scholarship Foundation.
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Simunek was also the recipient of a pair of $1,000 scholarships for Community Service - from the Miss S.D. Foundation and from Miss America. She won a $500 scholarship as the Top Fund Raiser and also won the Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Maker Award for her work for the CMN Organization, including organizing a CMN Dance Stars event in Hot Springs this spring.
Katie Barnett was third runner-up after winning the Thursday night Swimsuit preliminary. She receives a $1,200 scholarship and also was the recipient of the Rookie of th eYear Award, presented to the first-year contestant with the highest overall score.
Katelyn Breen was fourth runner-up and receives a $1,000 scholarship.Each of the four runners-up also receive $600 from the Foundation.
Jade Possail was the winner of the $1,000 State Academic Scholarship from the Miss America Organization.
The Miss Congeniality Award, voted on by the contestants, was a tie between Katie Crevier and Kirby Crofutt. Crevier was also a preliminary Talent winner,
Preliminary Talent winners each received $1,000 and Swimsuit winners each received $600. The eight non-semifinalists all received $500 in scholarship.
In total, nearly $29,000 in scholarships and other awards were handed out to the contestants.