BROOKINGS-Hot Springs' Amber Hulse, 20, was crowned Miss South Dakota 2019. Hulse is a 2017 graduate of Hot Springs High School. She is currently attending the University of South Dakota studying political science.
Hulse was the first runner up in the 2018 Miss South Dakota competition.
The newly crowned Miss South Dakota said the accomplishment hasn't really sunk in yet, "It hasn’t hit me yet. I feel like I am still a local titleholder but doing ten times the work. So far, I still feel like I am living in a dream and that every time someone says Amber Hulse Miss South Dakota, I think, they just said the wrong person, because I am not Miss South Dakota!"
Hulse's platform is "Operation Overload", a non-profit she created to help students plan their careers and navigate the public education system in South Dakota. The organizations website is Operationoverload.org.
She said she is ready to take on the challenges and responsibilities of being Miss South Dakota, " I am looking forward to the ability to really go above and beyond with this organization. I am now the “CEO” and I cannot wait to see what the Miss South Dakota Organization will accomplish this year."
After getting her undergraduate degree, Hulse said she plans eventually attending law school. She said her long term goal is to be a congresswoman but would like to serve in the South Dakota State Legislator first and possibly work with the Board of Regents.
2019 marked the first year Miss South Dakota wasn't held in Hot Springs.
Hulse is the fifth woman from Hot Springs to win the title following Susan Inman (1971), Pannisue Largent (1981), Amy DeHeer (1985) and Autumn Simunek (2015).
Thousands of scholarship dollars were awarded over the weekend to the many participants. A press release from the Miss South Dakota Pageant reported:
In addition to her scholarship of $9,500 for winning the competition, Hulse was a preliminary talent winner Friday evening ($1,000), and on-stage interview winner on Thursday ($500.) Hulse was also the overall interview winner ($500) and took home the Miss America Community Service Award ($1,000). Hulse was also named winner of the Sylvia Tannehill Kindness Award scholarship of $1,000.
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First runner-up was Annie Woodmansey of Pierre. In addition to her scholarship award of $4,500 for being first runner-up, she was a preliminary talent winner Thursday evening ($1,000), and on-stage interview winner on Friday ($500).
Second runner-up was Carly Goodhart of Sisseton, who took home a $2,500 scholarship, in addition to a $750 STEM scholarship.
Third runner-up was Hunter Widvey of Rapid City, garnering a $1,500 scholarship. Widvey also won a $750 STEM scholarship, as well as the Ray Peterson “Rookie of the Year” award of $500 for being the top-placing first-time candidate.
Fourth runner-up and winner of a $1,200 scholarship was Kaitlin O’Neill of Aberdeen.
Rounding out the top eight semi-finalists were Evy Johnson of Firesteel, Sylvie Larson of Harrisburg, and Elizabeth Hofer of Bruce.
Courtney Remick of Prior Lake, MN, was voted “Fan Favorite” through online voting, and received $500 cash.
Sarah Scott of Forest Lake, MN and Ria Gualano of Rapid City tied for Most Talented Non-Finalist ($400 scholarship). Jackie Bossman of Humboldt was voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants ($500 scholarship).
Sixteen women from across the state competed for the title. All won scholarships.
Amber Hulse will compete at the Miss America Pageant which will be aired by NBC, date and location to be announced.