Beauty is abundant in Vermillion

Beauty is abundant in Vermillion Above are VHS students Theresa Dendinger and Kati Dehner, who participated in the Miss South Dakota USA and Miss South Dakota Teen USA pageants respectively. by David Lias Beauty queens are strolling the campus of The University of South Dakota and the hallways of Vermillion High School.

USD student Jessica Fjerstad is the newly crowned Miss South Dakota USA 2005 and will represent the state at the Miss USA competition in April. Fjerstad is the daughter of Mike and Lori Waldner of Madison, and Mike and Darla Fjerstad of Lennox.

"Winning Miss South Dakota this year was an amazing experience.�All of the contestants were awesome and very competitive. I hope to represent South Dakota well at Miss USA this spring," said Fjerstad.

Theresa Dendinger, a senior at Vermillion High School, also participated in the pageant, held Nov. 12-14 in Watertown. She was third runner-up in the Miss South Dakota USA division, and received the Spirit of Miss USA Award.

Dendinger is the daughter of Bill and Cyndi Dendinger, Vermillion.

Kati Dehner, a junior at VHS, was among the young women who entered the Miss South Dakota Teen USA pageant, also held in Watertown that weekend. She is the daughter of Bob and Vicki Dehner, Vermillion.

Fjerstad will spend the months ahead preparing for the Miss USA competition in April.

She also plans to judge other pageants, ride in homecoming parades, visit schools across the state to speak on issues, raise money for charities, and maybe even throw out a pitch at a Twins game.

Fjerstad is a political science major in the honors program and is involved with several student organizations at USD, including the Political Science League, Kappa Alpha Theta, Big Pal/Little Pal, Political Economy Club, and VOTE.

Miss South Dakota for Miss USA is judged on one-third evening gown, one-third interview, and one-third swim suit and fitness.

Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe are all owned by Donald Trump, Universal Studios, and NBC.�

Women participating in the pageant were between the ages of 15-26 and had to be residents of South Dakota. Dehner and Dendinger competed for titles which were worth thousands of dollars in prizes, awards, scholarships and the opportunity to compete for the national titles of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA live on national television.

Dendinger and Dehner were chosen from hundreds of applicants to participate in their pageants. They completed a rigorous application process and were given a phone interview before being selected as contestants.

The Miss South Dakota Teen USA Pageant had 500 applicants and 100 were selected to compete.

Four hundred young women applied for the Miss South Dakota USA Pageant, and 43 were selected.

Once notified of their acceptance they started conditioning for the fitness category, worked through a very large contract with Donald Trump, NBC and the Miss Universe Organization, personally searched out sponsors for their entrance fee, selected their pageant wardrobe and prepared for interviews that were conducted by five judges.

Dehner was sponsored by Bunyan's, Vermillion Ford, Lisa Ketcham, Polaris Industries and the Buffalo Run Winery (Valiant Vineyards).

Dendinger was sponsored by Deb's Hallmark, Latte da, the Richard Knutson family, the Ron Hesla family, Doo-Wop Shake Shop, Community First National Bank, Vermillion Beauty Shop, Chae's, Choice Pharmacy, Jones' Food Center, Victorian West, and Davis Pharmacy.

The two VHS students note that the best part of participating in their pageants was the opportunity to meet many wonderful young women from across the state.

They agree that working with the Miss Universe Organization and the top notch team of Future Productions, LLC, Minneapolis, MN, was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

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