Sleepless in Hutchinson

The dresses have been put away and I’m beginning to think about my experience of competing in the Miss America Pageant more and more…

Now that I have been home for a few weeks from the pageant, I feel that my head has finally been cleared and my body has recovered. The Miss America experience is such an unique one and although I enjoyed my time in Las Vegas and I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent my state in such an unique way, I think that true gratitude for the experience will take years to understand.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonMiss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonMiss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonThe week went by so fast. So much so that it feels a little like a dream. I am very thankful for the support I had getting ready for the pageant and it was because of my local director that I went into the competition with the right mindset. Being able to compete with a balanced approach benefited my experience; I was able to be proud of my accomplishments and make new friends that I will forever adore. Thank you, everyone, for being such a tremendous support system for me and please keep checking my blog for the continuation of my year of service for the great state of North Dakota!

Beth Dennison
Miss North Dakota 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is it…

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth with Miss TN

Regardless of the outcome tomorrow night, I will look to this time in my life as one of change. I have found new strength in myself and in my faith. I have made friends that will surely be in my life forever. And, with my family by my side, I have been reminded of the fact that family is and always will be the most important thing in my life. I can’t thank them enough for their love and support during this journey. I want to also thank my friends for loving me as if we were family, my local director for your friendship and leadership and for teaching me about what the Miss America Organization has to offer. Thank you Alex, my amazing boyfriend, for everything you do for me and for being patient and understanding. Lastly, I want to thank God for setting me on this remarkable path, one that has led me to find out so much more about myself and my community as well as what we, as individuals, are able to do with the right resources and an enthusiasm to make a difference.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonMiss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonFor those of you wondering about what the day before the Miss America Pageant entails for the contestants- it’s mostly rehearsing for a very long time in preparation for the live TV broadcast tomorrow afternoon. This year, however, MAO brought back the “Show Us Your Shoes Parade” sponsored by DSW shoes, which we took part in this afternoon. The parade is an old tradition where contestants dress up and decorate their shoes in a theme that matches their state. My dad was my escort and my theme was “Winter Wonderland,” (which seems fitting as Grand Forks was recently blanketed in yet another snow storm and currently enduring below zero temperatures!) What really made the parade exciting was the 48 former Miss Americas there to help celebrate the 90th anniversary of the pageant. Tonight, we had a gala with our families and supporters of MAO.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

I’ll be posting my final blog tomorrow after the pageant. I can’t believe I’ll finally be on that big stage, a dream I’ve had since I was a little girl. Please keep me in your prayers…hoping to make you proud! Thank you.

Beth Dennison
Miss North Dakota 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

It’s all about the love-Prelim night 3

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonTonight I finished my final night of prelims at the Miss America competition. It was during my final moments on stage in my evening gown that I realized this might be the last time I compete on this stage. If not selected as a finalist my pageant career will be over. Although the thought of this is sad, I know that I am walking away from this competition with a success story. I have made so many new friends that will no doubt be in my life for a very long time.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth competes in swimsuit during prelim night 3.

I must say that when you take it all away; the crown, the sash, make up and yes, even the spray tan, you are left with something pretty remarkable… an intense love and passion for this organization and a renewed respect for the power of setting goals and striving towards a more inspired life. Tomorrow is the Shoe Parade where I’ll have the opportunity to walk alongside my father. I’ll be back soon with photos!

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonBeth Dennison
Miss North Dakota 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Miss America Prelim-Night 1 and 2

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonLast night was the first night of preliminary competition for the 2011 Miss America Pageant. It was exciting to feel the energy from the audience, the heat from the lights on stage, and the emotion of finally reaching the on-stage portion of competition. The contestants and I had rehearsals all day and in addition to the anticipation of showing the audience what we’ve been working on for our opening number, we were also very excited to compete in talent later that evening.

Photo by Tom Donoghue for Planet Hollywood

Photo by Tom Donoghue for Planet Hollywood

I felt great about my dance and it was an incredible feeling to be up on that stage. There is incredible talent to be showcased from each state titleholder and my group is especially competitive. Miss North Carolina won the prelim talent award last night for clogging and Miss Hawaii was awarded prelim swimsuit… congratulations, ladies, you are fabulous!

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonMiss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonAnother major highlight of the evening was getting to see my family after the show. I cannot even begin to express the amount of thanks I give to them and my friends, (the Grand Forks “Bear Family” included) for their constant support and love this past year. You really mean the world to me! This experience as been unique and continues to remind me of the blessings in my life. With 3 young sisters,  I know how important it is for me to be the kind of woman they can look up to. I know that with hard work, a firm faith, and the “Dennison Spirit”, there is nothing standing in the way of their dreams.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonToday, I kicked off the morning with a dream come true. Everyone has a favorite Miss America and mine is Katie Stam. This morning on my way to a shoot for Caeser’s Palace we crossed paths. She, like many I’ve met since the beginning of my journey in the Miss America Organization, is a shining example of what grace and dedication looks like.

After a full day of shooting, we were off to rehearsals and then it was time to begin getting ready for the second night of pageant prelims. Tonight I had my on stage question portion of the competition, which was very exciting! This time is best seen as an oppurtunity to talk about your platform; show your passion for the cause that you’ve chosen to represent and stay calm, cool, and collected in front of thousands of people each wondering “Does this girl have what it takes?” The show flew by and now I’m sitting in my hotel room thinking again of how amazing this opportunity has been. Tomorrow is another full day ending in me competing in the evening gown and swimsuit categories…wish me luck!

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonTonight at visitation I was thinking of how difficult it is to have such limited time with my family. I immediately realized that life is a limited amout of time- limited time with the ones we love, with the things we care about, and a limited amount of time to make a difference. I see this organization as an oppurtunity to encourage young people to do something worthwhile with their time and I can’t wait to see what time has in store for the 53 of us this Sat. I’ll try my best to blog tomorrow night with results and insight on the final night of prelims. Congratulations, Miss Rhode Island (talent) and Miss Alabama (swim) for your prelim awards earned at tonight’s show. Good night, America! 🙂

Beth Dennison
Miss North Dakota 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Interview

Today we started rehearsals on the stage! This is so exciting for me because being on the actual stage makes it feel so real, a reminder that win or lose I have made it this far and standing next to these remarkable women is something I will always be proud of and remember. Today was also my interview day. What an amazing panel of judges! It felt wonderful to let them get to know me, what I care about, and what I believe in.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonMiss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonMiss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonI am really enjoying my time here and becoming very close friends with a few of the other contestants. In fact, tonight at dinner a few of us made plans to reconnect this summer. Focusing on having the right mindset and attiude as I go through this experience has been a constant goal of mine. It’s so important for me to be open to the joys of this adventure while staying focused on connecting to the job of being Miss America, a job that I would be so honored to received. Speaking of joy, I saw my family in the hallway today which was so much fun and just what the dr. ordered. My time at the competition has been a challenge both physically and mentally but there are moments that not only keep me going but inspire a new level of dedication within. I’m blessed to be here and can’t wait to get on that big stage tomorrow night to share with you my talent. Wish me luck!

Beth Dennison
Miss North Dakota 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Fashion Show, Buca, & Paris!

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison photo MAO Facebook

Beth models a Joseph Ribkoff dress (photo MAO Facebook)

Yesterday, we started bright and early with rehearsal. I had no idea how much work went into the production element of the Miss America Pageant! When we were finished, it was off to the Jospeh Ribkoff fashion show. Joseph Ribkoff is the national clothing sponsor of Miss America. I also had the opportunity to wear jewelry from a sponsor for my local competition who was kind enough to donate use of her entire inventory to me during my time at the pageant- Premeir Designs. Thank you, Jan, for your support!  After walking the runway, the contestants had an autograph signing. This event flew by, along with the entire afternoon, with little time to really take in the experience. Although I have already been in Vegas for 4 days I feel like it’s going by so quickly!

Next, we went to a fabulous dinner at Buca di Beppo. The food was great but the conversation, even better. The contestants are beginning to become much closer; opening up about our beliefs, backgrounds, and the incredible experience we’re having together at the pageant has really helped me make a personal connection with the other girls.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison MAO photo

Beth at Buca di Beppo (photo MAO Facebook)

After dinner we went to Paris to see the gorgeous views and then were given the rest of the night off. On our way back to the hotel it dawned on me, this time next week there will be a new Miss America. Being in this position has made me so proud of what I have accomplished. I hope to continue to represent the state of North Dakota well no matter the outcome on Sat. but know that if I’m given the opportunity to represent the organization at the national level, I am ready both physically and mentally to do so.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonMiss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonPlease keep me in your thoughts and prayers and remember to vote for the People’s Choice award, fast tracking me into a finalist position. You can vote 4 different ways, including: http://www.missamerica.org/videocontest/; www.facebook.com/MissAmericaOrg (go to video contest and ‘like’ my video); http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTlIxwk0j7w (‘like’ this video on YouTube); or text MAND to 24470.

Beth Dennison
Miss North Dakota 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

IHOP & Barry Manilow

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth, far right, at IHOP (photo MAO Press Release)

Yesterday, we kicked off the day with an IHOP breakfast. As much fun as it was to make pancakes with Elvis and celebrate Miss America’s 90th birthday with peanut butter banana pancakes it was not the highlight of the event. We also celebrated the relationship between Miss America and CMN. What truly made this event special was hearing from two miracle children and their families. These families are such an incredible example of the strength people develop when they are faced with a challenge. Hearing their stories and getting a chance to talk with them one on one really put life into perspective for me. I am so proud to be a participant in an organization that has such a significant impact on others.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonMiss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonMiss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonAfter our inspirational breakfast it was off to rehearsal for the remainder of the morning and into the afternoon and after rehearsal it was off to dinner. We have been having a few of our meals at the Planet Hollywood buffet…yum! We then went to the Barry Manilow show. This was my first Vegas show and it was everything I expected and more! After the show, Barry even took some time for pictures and conversation with us.

Miss ND 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth at the Barry Manilow show in Las Vegas

As yesterday came to a close my body was tired and my feet were sore, but my spirits had never been higher. Additionally, my faith in God has never been stronger and I have never felt more inspired than I am now by the 52 women around me who are no doubt capable of making a remarkable impact on the world around us. Today brings lots more to see and do!

Beth Dennison
Miss North Dakota 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Vegas!

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison at Miss America Arrival Ceremony photo Miss America Org.

Beth, second from right in front row, at the Miss America arrival ceremony photo MAO

On Wednesday, I left for the Miss America Pageant. As my dad and I drove to the airport we talked about current events and laughed about how neither of us saw this coming. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful role model for a father. His strength and work ethic inspire me. His constant love and support lifts me up and as I spent those last few minutes with the man who always told me I could and would do what I am doing now, I felt blessed.

After helping me check my bags, my dad left me at the gate and I was finally on my path to Miss America. Luckily, the three hour plane ride was much more fun than I had expected…Miss Minnesota ended up being on the same flight! We spent the time together catching up and expressing our excitement for the next ten days ahead. This was my first time going to Las Vegas so as we drove to our hotel I was stunned at the beauty of this city. If I thought it was beautiful from the ground I was in for a pleasant surprise as my hotel room was on the 38th floor. What a view! Instead of checking out the sites I went to bed early (well, early for Vegas as I’m still on central time).

Our first official day started off early yesterday morning. We were checked in and immediately sent to a fitting where our competition wardrobe was checked. Afterwards, we were free to unpack and get ready for the arrival ceremony. Miss Tennessee and I are roommates. She is a sweet girl, we were also happy to find out we are both morning people!

The arrival ceremony was both interesting and fun and was hosted by Boys to Men! This ceremony is what kicks of the Miss America week and for the first time we are presented not only as a state title holder but as a Miss America competitor. I am so honored to be in this position! During the ceremony the finalists for the Quality of Life award were also announced.

After arrival we went to a DSW shoe store. DSW is the national sponsor of Miss America and was shooting commercials with the contestants. This was an especially fun event for me because between takes I was able to sit and talk to the other contestants. The women here are so intelligent and driven…being around them certainly inspires me. We wrapped up the long day with a meeting in which we were introduced to everyone.

As the week goes on, I know my list of thank you’s will grow but this organization could not keep going without all of the support it receives from people who see it’s true worth. I have so much in my life that is a direct result of being involved with this organization and I continue to see, on a daily basis, how it has the ability to inspire so many.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth with Miss TN at the arrival ceremony

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth with Miss MT at the arrival ceremony

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth and Miss TN at the arrival ceremony

As I crawled into bed after my first day at the Miss America competition I was tired but also grateful and honored. Above all I felt blessed. I know that God has a plan for each and everyone of us and I am so lucky to be here. This experience will be with me forever and as I look back on it, no matter the outcome, I am proud to be a product of the organization’s ability to take a strong women and turn her into the best possible version of herself.

Today will bring new adventures and I can’t wait to tell you all about them!

Beth Dennison
Miss North Dakota 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Happy Holidays!

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth DennisonWhat a wonderful Christmas! I had the chance to spend a few days with family and friends over the holiday season. I especially loved watching my younger sisters open presents on Christmas. There is so much excitement in the room as my 4 sisters, parents, brother-in-law, my boyfriend and I all squeezed into our little living room. As always, we tried to take turns so we could see what everyone had in their brightly colored boxes. Following tradition, a new “ugly” Christmas sweater was added to the collection and after present opening was over we had a big Christmas dinner and spent time playing games, cross county skiing, and going to Christmas mass.

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth and her 4 sisters

Today I will be celebrating New Year’s which has always been something I love. What I find most interesting about this holiday is the way it moves a person. This is a time where we reflect on the way we’ve chosen to live our life for an entire year. We commend ourselves for our accomplishments and set new goals, swearing off bad habits and promising to make changes. If only we could treat every day as if it was New Years, waking up motivated with the courage to set and work towards our goals.

The Dennison family has much to be thankful for as we ring in the New Year. Both of my parents have jobs, my older sister started a new job that she loves and she and her husband will welcome their first baby this year! Katie, also known as “Number 3,” is having a successful year in school both academically and in her athletics. Michelle, “Number 4,”  is growing up into a beautiful women, she is experimenting with new sports and continues to be the creative thinker of the family. Christina, the youngest Dennison, is always full of love and is finding her natural talent on the basketball court.

I could not ask for anything more as I ring in the New Year and feel blessed to have such an amazing family! With the Miss America competition so close, I think a lot about how lucky I am to be in a position to live out a dream I’ve had since I was a child. I cannot express the joy I feel when I think about the opportunities I have had over this past year and I look forward to sharing with you, my readers, the experiences I’ll have at the Miss America pageant with nightly posts… stay tuned, friends, and Happy New Year!

Beth Dennison
Miss North Dakota 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Send Off Party!

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

(left to right) Rosie Savageau, 2nd ru Miss ND '11, Katie Ralston Miss ND '10, Beth Dennison Miss ND '11, Aly Wilhelmi Miss ND Intl '10, Emily Burkland Miss Grand Forks '11

Tonight was my Send Off party for the Miss America Pageant, put on by my local committee the Miss Grand Forks Org. It was a lot of fun showing some of my supporters the wardrobe I’ll be wearing…I especially enjoyed showing the audience my custom talent costume and performing my dance!

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth with Miss Grand Forks Outstanding Teen '10 Grace Sproule

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth with Miss Grand Forks pageant director

Miss North Dakota 2011 Beth Dennison

Beth with Miss Grand Forks '11 Emily Burkland

As I prepare for perhaps the most life changing experience I have encountered in my 22 years, I think a lot about the current role I hold as Miss North Dakota. My interest in Miss America started at a young age, watching the competition and idolizing the contestants was a yearly ritual for me. Now having the opportunity to be someone with the same level of influence for someone else keeps me energized, inspired, and focused. What I love about being Miss North Dakota is having the experience of going into schools and speaking to students about taking initiative with their lives, being creative, and strengthening their work ethic to achieve their dreams.

Something that I didn’t expect to encounter as a state representative is the amount of growth and change I have seen in myself. Being involved with this organization has blessed me in so many ways. As I have traveled around our great state I’ve noticed an increase in my self-esteem as well as improvements in my speaking ability.  This organization has allowed me to become the best woman I can be while continues to inspire me to do more for others and appreciate the world around me.

The next step for me is almost hard to think about, being so close and working so hard for a lifelong dream has been an unique experience, an experience I’m grateful for. The time spent at the Miss America Pageant will surely strengthen the qualities I have already seen an improvement in. At the end of the competition I know I will have represented North Dakota to the best of my ability, made new and lifelong friends, and made my family proud. I believe in purpose and in fate; to me, it’s no mistake that I am where I am today.

I want to encourage my young followers to really think about what you want from life, who you want to be and what you want to become. I want you to look to me as an example. I didn’t win the crown you see me wear by simply luck (although I feel lucky to have been given this honor), it took hard work and determination. Never give up.

Beth Dennison
Miss North Dakota 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment