Nisswa native Rebecca Yeh has had a memorable 2013.
Yeh, 20, the daughter of Tim and Kathy Yeh of Nisswa, was named the fourth runner-up in the Miss America pageant on Sept. 15 in Atlantic City, N.J.
“It was an amazing experience and I am so fortunate to have made it that far,” Yeh told the Dispatch the day after the pageant. “I couldn’t have done anything better. I did my best with everything I was in control of.”
Yeh competed against 52 other girls from the United States, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and in the end Miss New York Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America.
Yeh won the preliminary talent competition at the Miss America pageant with her violin performance. Yeh, who has played violin since she was 4, performed “Scherzo and Tarantella” by Henri Wieniawski.
Yeh received a $2,000 scholarship from the win.
Yeh is the first Miss Minnesota to win a preliminary talent competition since Gretchen Carlson earned the honor in 1989, when she also won the Miss America title.
Yeh decided to participate in the local Miss America competitions after high school graduation for several reasons.
She wanted to spread her wings more as a violinist and support her older brother, Phillip, who is autistic, and build awareness in the community about the condition.
Yeh did well and was named Miss Brainerd Lakes in 2011, Miss Northwest in July of 2012 and then Miss Minnesota in June of 2013.
Yeh — who took a year off at Ohio Northern University where she is majoring in pharmacy during her role as Miss Minnesota — said she may consider changing her college plans as she has changed personally and has fallen in love with Minnesota.