Thursday, February 25, 2016

Miss North Dakota International 2016 Crowning Moment

Have you ever just smiled because you really don’t know what is going on or what to do—well that was me at my crowning moment! Let me put it into perspective for you.
Being new to this particular pageant and have only done one other pageant a couple months prior, it was all very new to me. There is so much going on and you know that just in a matter of moments someone’s life is going to dramatically change.
 I remember standing on stage, looking at all the people around me—so beautiful in every way, their dresses, their smiles and simply everything that surrounded us. If there is any kind of advice about pageant weekend, it is ALWAYS to embrace and hold tight to every moment.
So there I was, soaking up everything around me and watching the crowning’s of the Junior Miss Teen and the Miss Teen. I was so excited for their new journey and how they would embark on it this year. Then the time came for the Miss’s to gather to the front of the stage. I walked to the front and grasped the other girls’ hands, looked each one in the eyes and just smiled. We all had a sparkle in our eyes and let’s be honest, sweaty palms too. I was so happy for each of us to have been in that moment together, happy to have gotten so close to each girl, and just happy to have had this opportunity together. Each of us were full of emotion and clenching hands when the first runner up was called. After celebrating her victory we grabbed hands all the more tighter. I was thinking of how proud I was of each girl and how each one of them were deserving of the crown in different ways. I was thinking of all these things and just smiling with joy when suddenly . . . Boom, My thoughts were quickly interrupted.

                               Photo by Ludvik Herrera © 2016. All Rights Reserved.

After figuring out what was happening I had also come to realize I had no idea what to do and that perhaps I should have listened a little more carefully during rehearsals about the crowning moments. Oops.
            But I quickly gathered myself, gestured a thank you to the judges, and was bombarded with flowers, a sash, and of course the crown. Although, as the crown was placed on my head, I heard, “uh oh, I forgot the clips . . .” Luckily enough, I successfully balanced the crown to the back of the stage where the tears of joy then welded in my eyes.
The last queen was announced and we all came to the front as sisters.

                                      Photo by Ludvik Herrera © 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Our photographer, Ludvik Herrera, took many pictures of us on stage with the judges, the directors, and the previous title holders but I was honestly just anxious to get to my mother and friends at the edge of the stage. I really couldn’t be more thankful for their support every time I entered that stage.

                                      Photo by Ludvik Herrera © 2016. All Rights Reserved.

There are really no words to describe the feeling of being crowned, but when it is your time, no one can take that away from you. Embrace what is around you and cherish it all because God doesn’t make mistakes. I am so proud of every girl at the pageant in that each one is spectacular and I am lucky enough to have met them and call them friends. The night may have flashed in a blink of an eye but after my adrenalin had started to die down and my feet began to ache, I knew my bed was calling my name!

Xoxo- Taylor Woodruff
Here are some other pictures from the weekend if you are interested!

                                                                            West 13th Salon

                                                           Ready for my interview!
                                                        Supporting friends!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mrs. North Dakota International 2016 Crowning Moment!

Mrs. North Dakota International 2016 – Ashley Rae Klinger
My Crowning Moment

Hi, everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend! In this blog, I am going to attempt to share with you the moment in which I was crowned and became Mrs. North Dakota International 2016. I will admit, this wasn’t an easy entry for me to write, as I found it difficult to explain a moment that seemed almost surreal.

Truth be told, receiving the crown was not necessarily my ultimate end goal of pageant weekend. You may ask, as many already have, if receiving the crown and becoming the new Mrs. North Dakota International wasn’t your ultimate end goal, then why did you participate in the pageant? Well, the answer is simply this; going into pageant weekend, I had three overall intentions that I wanted to accomplish. First, I wanted to lead by example for the women in my community and show them that life is about combining the abilities we have with the opportunities around us. Second, I wanted to advocate for The Cope Well Foundation and bring awareness to the emotional recovery of cancer survivorship. And finally, I wanted to surround myself with other like-minded, passionate women who were also trying to make a difference in their communities. If, at the end of the weekend, I was able to fulfill those overall intentions, then in my book it was a win-win and anything else that resulted from the experience was simply a bonus.

Throughout the weekend, I made attempts to find a quiet place where I could be alone with my thoughts. I used that time to remind myself to stay true to who I am and to focus on my intentions and the overall reasons ‘why’ I chose to participate in the pageant. There was one moment in particular where I remember standing backstage and a sense of calm came over me. In that moment, I knew in my heart that God had placed me exactly where he wanted me to be. He already knew what the ‘end result’ of pageant weekend was going to be. It was up to me to simply enjoy it and to make the most out of the experience. That same sense of calm came over me a second time, and it was the moment I was standing on stage right before they announced my name.

I remember them announcing the names of the second runner-up and then the first runner-up. Right before they announced the name of the new titleholder, I remember being at total ease with everything. I remember looking into the crowd with complete confidence knowing that I accomplished exactly what I set out to accomplish that weekend, regardless of whose name they announced next.

Right before my name was announced, I remember seeing the entire row of all my friends who came to support me. They were all sitting on the edge of their seats with the look of anticipation on their faces. When my name was announced, I remember them jumping from their seats, and I remember thinking to myself ‘holy cow, this is actually happening.’ I remember being surrounded by all of the wonderful women who were standing on stage with me, and I remember seeing the excitement in their eyes. I remember my thighs burning because I was trying to crouch down so my husband and the current titleholder, Erin, could put the crown on my head. I remember by cheeks trembling because I couldn’t stop smiling. I remember standing at center stage with my amazing husband by my side who kissed me and whispered in my ear, “I knew you could do it, I’m so proud of you.” I remember waving awkwardly to the crowd and wondering if I was waving properly, as I had never participated in a pageant before and wasn’t sure what I was even doing in that moment. And finally, I remember the tears building up in my eyes because what had resulted from that weekend was proof, yet again, that God’s plan for me is far greater than any plan I could ever have for myself, and I look forward to making the most out of this incredible journey that he has in store for me!

Until next time, continue to ‘make a difference’.

Ashley Rae Klinger

Photo by Ludvik Herrera © 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Miss Teen North Dakota International 2016 Crowning Moment!

   My crowning was, crazy. I prayed with all of the girls I was competing with right before we went on and I continued to pray right up to the moment my name was called. I wasn't praying to win, I was praying to ask God to give me strength and to whoever the winner is that they have the most amazing year possible.

    When my name was called I immediately began crying, the girls around me hugged me and I never have felt more love than in that moment. It was exactly what I envisioned and it continues to be the day my life changed completely for the better.

With love,
Your Miss Teen North Dakota International 2016,
Meghanne Quam

Photo by Ludvik Herrera © 2016. All Rights Reserved.
 Photo by Ludvik Herrera © 2016. All Rights Reserved.
Photo by Ludvik Herrera © 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Meet Your Junior Miss Teen North Dakota International 2016, Sadie Jo Lura

I am living every girls dream at the young age of nine being your first Junior Miss Teen North Dakota International! 


You get to see the queen side of me but really I am way more than that. 

One of my favorite places to be is right at home on the family farm either by my dads side helping on the farm anyway possible, raising chickens with my brother, helping plant and sell sweet corn to save money for college and anything that involves dirt and hard work I am all in. My dad always jokes about being the only queen who attends a pageant one weekend and the next weekend winning our local punt pass & kick contest. 

My family includes my dad Brock and my mom Rhonda my three brothers Skyler, Stetson and Jonathan, our dog Lambeau, our four cats Smokey, Bandit, Heidi and Zini and our 18 chickens (which all have names!) 


Some of my hobbies are reading, drawing, running, fishing and making everyone smile.

Ten things about me!

My name is really Mercedes Jo! (In Spanish my name means "gift." I am a miracle baby. My parents where told after my birth the  cord that supplied oxygen to me was dry. They have no way to explain why I didn't go into stress. I guess God knew my mom needed a little girl in her life.

I have a fear of heights! Yes I am a gymnast and still working on overcoming this fear. 

I named my moms boutique! Sugar is for Sadie because I am sweet like sugar and my moms name is Rhonda and she's always rushing!

I have over 100 stuffed animals that all sleep with me. Skittles, Wonka and Daisy go everywhere with me. They are quite the travelers having been to Mexico, Florida and Washington DC to name a few places.


My motto is "To Be A Leader, Not A Follower" inspirational words my mom has taught me.

The person I admire the most is my mom. She is a survivor of child abuse and is using her story to help others find their voice and to educate children how to speak up. 

I can speak another language! "Bat Sadie" if you ever want to hear it just ask! 

My favorite animal is the penguin. I saw my first penguin when we went to Florida and visited Sea World. This was a moment I will never forget. Know if only I could figure out how to bring one home as a pet! 

I have two platforms! I am very passionate about the Ronald McDonald House but I am also very passionate about Prairie Paws Rescue.  My kitty Heidi came from there. You will learn more about my platform soon. 

My favorite food is a corn dog! My mom jokes and tells me someday I am going to turn into a corn dog.

I am truly honored to be your Junior Miss Teen North Dakota and can't wait to share my year with you and touch your hearts with my smile and bubbly personality.

Love Sadie Jo 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Meet Your Miss Teen North Dakota International 2016, Meghanne Quam

Coming from a small town in the North, many people don't have the best idea, or even know what a pageant is. Nearly two years ago was when I began competing in pageants, and with being new to me I never truly understood all of the excitement until I met wonderful ladies and life-long friends through pageants.
    I was born in raised in Jamestown, North Dakota with a passion for children with special needs. My family and I have lived my platform, “Every Child Deserves a Companion”, every day of my life by taking in children with special needs who don't have a parent or guardian in their lives.
I am employed at the Anne Carlsen Center for Children which is a school for special needs children and a volunteer for our local Special Olympics' teams. Also, I am currently a Senior at Jamestown High School and have my first semester of college completed through dual credit classes.
Now, if you don't know me, you might be wondering how to pronounce my name. Well, you pronounce it just like any other Megan. Mine is just special because my grandmother wanted her middle name to be my middle name, but Megan Anne didn't sound quite right so we just added it to my name and created Meghanne Lynn Quam. The “h” was just to make it extra hard for me to spell while trying to learn it in kindergarten, as my mom always jokes.  I am not an only child, I have one sister Kaitlyn, 4 step-sisters, and 1 step-brother. I am the oldest sibling and  grandchild on both sides of my family as well. My mom, Nicole, is a full time small business owner of our very own prom and bridal shop, Nicole's Bridal and Prom Boutique. My dad, Nick, is a full time National Guard recruiter and has been deployed to Iraq twice. I love both of my parents occupations, but I plan on taking my own path into my love of special needs to achieve my degree in Special Education and Occupational Therapy beginning next fall at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota.
    I have always been a girly-girl, but what a lot of people don't know is that behind all my pageant hair and make-up I love to be outdoors. I love to participate in anything, from ice-fishing in the winter, to jet skiing and wake-boarding in the summer. I also have a huge place in my heart for taking in people and animals into my home. Last Christmas was our newest edition to the family, my cat named Sadie, and this past Christmas was a boy from the Anne Carlsen Center because his family was unable to take him home for the holidays. My love for taking care of people and animals has made me recently decide to hopefully partner with PATH, an organization with a dedicated mission “Families Making the Difference” giving people an opportunity to become a certified foster parent and helps children and families that have experienced traumatic events and struggles with serious behavioral health problems. This April I plan on taking the class to become a certified foster parent for children with special needs.
    Not only do I enjoy doing all of those things but my family does as well. Some things my family and I enjoy doing together are jet-skiing, shopping, relaxing on the beach, and watching 80's movies... a lot of 80's movies. My favorite 80's movie would have to be the “Goonies” or all of the “Back to the Future” productions. My dad and I really enjoy singing. I have been in choir for 8 years now, and I have loved every moment of it. I also enjoy musicals, and I have attended two Broadway shows in New York City which includes “Beauty and the Beast” and “Phantom of the Opera.” This summer, before I attend nationals in Florida, I will be back in New York City and I am seeing my fourth musical and third musical on Broadway, “Lion King.”
    As Miss Teen North Dakota International 2016, I look forward to my time and travels sharing and spreading awareness about my platform to everyone across our beautiful state and beyond. I am blessed and beyond grateful for the opportunities I have had so far and for the many more that are yet to come. “Remember, love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference.” -Helen James

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Meet Your Miss North Dakota International 2016, Taylor Woodruff

There’s much more to being a “pageant queen” than posing, smiling pretty, and saying all the “right” things. So today, I am here to tell you more about your Miss North Dakota International queen of 2016—Taylor Woodruff.
            I have grown up in the town of Devils Lake, ND where I spent most my life on a small farm.  During grades 9-12 I attended a Christian affiliated boarding school out of Bismarck, ND where I developed my love for volunteering. I am now a sophomore in college finishing my Associates of Liberal Arts to be continued with a Bachelors degree in Animal Science and a minor in Equine.
            As queen, I travel North Dakota promoting The American Heart Association and my personal platform of Volunteerism. However, while I am not in school or doing pageant things, I enjoy making coffee (I love coffee), reading my devotional, shopping, working out, traveling, and just being with friends. I also love getting outside to do things such as, figure skating, horseback riding, winter skiing, fishing, and hiking.
            I hope that if you’re reading this passage right now, that you continue to follow my blog and reign—learning more about my journey and building stronger communities through volunteering.  It really is an incredible honor and blessing to be representing the beautiful state of North Dakota and its people. I can’t wait to see what this year has to hold for me and for nationals this July in Jacksonville, FL. So now, let’s get to work and make this an awesome year!
God Bless
Taylor Woodruff

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Meet Your Mrs. North Dakota International 2016, Ashley Rae Klinger.

Meet Your Mrs. North Dakota International 2016, Ashley Rae Klinger.

Hi, everyone! This is Ashley Rae Klinger, your new Mrs. North Dakota International 2016! Welcome to my very first blog post as Mrs. North Dakota International! I am beyond thrilled for the year that lies ahead, and I’m even more excited to be able to take all of you on this journey with me through my blog!

For this very first blog, I want to set the stage for our year together by sharing a few important things with you. First, as I am now representing all of the wonderful women of the great state of North Dakota, please know that I take that responsibility very seriously and with incredible honor! Throughout this year, and years to come, I will do my very best to represent our state and the women who live here to the best of my abilities!

Second, for those of you who read the article in the Fargo Forum this past weekend and have asked, yes it is true, my first reaction when approached about participating in the pageant was to say no. However, after some thought, I knew this was a perfect way for me to lead by example and to show women that life truly is about combining our abilities with opportunities. We might not know what the end result is going to be, but as long as we embrace who we are and what we have to offer, and stay true to what we’re passionate about and what brings us purpose, then we’re going to go much further in life than we could’ve ever expected! So, here I am! Not knowing what the end result of all of this is going to be, but I’m going to stay true to what’s important to me in the process and do my very best to live each and every day with purpose and passion.

Third, as your Mrs. North Dakota International, it’s important to me that you feel as though you know me. If you see me out and about at an event throughout the year, I want you to be able to approach me and have a conversation with me as though you are one of my friends. Therefore, here are a few fun facts for you to get our relationship started! I was born in Devils Lake where I lived until I was 9. My family and I then moved to Grand Forks, where I grew up and now consider home. I graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2002 and moved to Minneapolis, MN, where I started my very first business, which today is a mentoring and coaching firm for women. I also lived in Fargo and California for a brief period of time. My parents live in Grand Forks, and I have 1 younger brother who lives in Bismarck, along with 1 adorable 2 ½ year old nephew. I’m his Fauntie…that’s Fun Auntie, or Fabulous Auntie, or Funny Auntie. Ok, you get the idea. My favorite sport is baseball, and my favorite team is the MN Twins! I was diagnosed with Melanoma Skin Cancer in 2008 and used the experience to start a nonprofit called The Cope Well Foundation, which focuses on the emotional recovery of cancer survivorship, which I will be representing as my personal platform this year. I’ve always considered myself to be a city girl with country roots. I recently moved to the country with my NEW husband, Andrew. I say NEW because we just got married on October 18, 2015, which was exactly 1-year from the day that we met one another. We have a puppy named Bella and plan on having kids when God says it’s time!

And finally, if you’re wondering why the ‘e’ in my name is red, it’s because I’m RED E for anything! Ha ha! Get it?! Ok, so that’s probably my que to wrap up! Again, from the bottom of my heart, I am beyond thrilled and honored to be your Mrs. North Dakota International 2016 and can’t wait to share this year with you! Together, we will make a difference!


Ashley Rae Klinger