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