By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Serving as Miss South Dakota State University is Kirby Crofutt’s first pageant experience, but it won’t be the last.
After being crowned Feb. 24, Crofutt is now eligible to compete for Miss South Dakota in June. If she wins, she’ll be in the running for Miss America.
“Being Miss SDSU has been an unbelievable experience so far. I love attending South Dakota State University and being a Jackrabbit,” said Crofutt, a 2010 Delano High School graduate.
Crofutt’s decision to run for Miss SDSU came after a friend encouraged her to consider it.
“I went into it to enjoy every aspect of the experience and have fun with it,” Crofutt said. “The best part was getting to meet the other girls in the pageant.”
The contestants spent the day before coronation together, learning dances to perform for the audience.
Before the pageant, each girl also selects a personal platform.
“Mine is promoting the importance of reading, specifically in children, but for people of all ages as well,” Crofutt said. “I chose this platform because, as an early childhood and elementary education major, I know how crucial it is for children to develop strong reading skills. Reading is a fundamental building block in children’s academic and everyday lives, and needs to be made a priority both in and out of the classroom.”
Talent and poise
During the pageant, judging consisted of an eight-minute panel interview with the judges, an on-stage question, and a swimsuit, talent, and evening dress competition.
“My talent was playing the violin and the violin I played was handmade by my great-grandfather,” Crofutt said.
The on-stage question pertained to Crofutt’s career plans. She was asked how she, as a future teacher, plans to motivate her students and compete with distracting environmental stimuli, such as technology.
“I answered that I hope to have a positive classroom environment where students will want to learn,” Crofutt recalled.
As Miss SDSU, Crofutt is looking forward to an entire year of promoting reading in local classrooms.
So far, she’s read books and organized activities at surrounding elementary schools, and is working with the children’s department at the Brookings Public Library to help with read-alongs, puppet shows, and preparations for the summer reading program.
“The Miss America organization also teams with the Children’s Miracle Network, so I have been working to help raise money for that, as well,” Crofutt added.
A close competition
Crofutt felt “beyond ecstatic” when she was chosen as Miss SDSU.
“I was surprised, because there were some really amazing girls,” she said. “Everyone had really good talents, and some of them had been in many pageants before.”
Crofutt’s parents, Bobby and Katy Crofutt, agreed.
“It was an intense moment right before they called her name,” Katy noted. “Any one of the girls could have walked away with the title. It was that close.”
In addition to Miss SDSU, the titles of Miss Eastern Plains and Miss Brookings were also awarded during the pageant. Crofutt received a scholarship for winning, and will receive another one if she becomes Miss South Dakota.
The Miss South Dakota pageant will take place Wednesday, June 26 through Saturday, June 29 in Hot Springs, SD.
“I will be competing against 16 other contestants,” Crofutt said, adding that the winner will advance to the Miss America pageant.