NISSWA -- They say time flies when you're having fun. I think 2002 was the fastest year of my life.
From graduating from high school to experiencing my first taste of college life, the privilege of being Miss Nisswa was more than I could ask for.
The duty of my royalty definitely kept me busy over the past year. I remember my first parade for the Nisswa Winter Jubilee. I was filled with feelings of excitement and anticipation. I also remember being a bit overwhelmed just thinking that this was going to be the beginning of an amazing experience. Serving coffee and doughnuts for the fishing opener was also a fun, yet interesting experience battling the cold winds on the lake and making sure my crown didn't fall in.
As I'm sure any previous Miss Nisswa will agree, the most memorable event during my reign was the Aquatennial festival during the summer. The only way I am able to describe this duty as Miss Nisswa is by saying those were the best four days I have ever experienced. This opportunity of a lifetime included many events already planned for myself and the eight other visiting queens, such as our tour of the city and attending many interesting lunch and dinner parties.
One such party was held at the home of businessman Rick Born. I was able to talk to Rick personally and it turns out he, too, is an admirer of Nisswa. He owns four cabins up here, one of which his good friend, Glenn Fry (of the band The Eagles), visits quite often.
Unfortunately, the Aquatennial parade itself was canceled because of a thunderstorm. There were also a few events that weren't planned. It turned out the cast of "Rent" was staying in our hotel so we got the chance to visit with them and a "personal" backstage invitation the following day. Of course the entire experience itself wouldn't have been what it was without the eight other lifelong friends I made, as well as the wonderful chaperones, Betty and Volie, who quickly became our surrogate grandparents.
At the end of January this year, I was able to get in one last appearance as queen. I was the first Miss Nisswa to partake in the $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza put on by the Brainerd Jaycees. Selling raffle tickets and drawing for prizes is quite difficult when your hands are numb. But despite the 12 below wind chill, the smiling faces of the some 14,000 anglers made it all worthwhile as my last duty during my reign.
There are so many people to thank, it's difficult to know where to start: Penny Stumvoll for getting me to be in the pageant in the first place, and for being such a big help throughout the year. I'm sure few know exactly how hard she works and all the time she puts into this pageant and making sure everything turns out as perfectly as it does. Ann Marie Shiltz and Nicole Mills were also always there ready and willing for any questions I had. Of course, none of this could have been possible without the help of the Nisswa Area Women of Today, and all of my sponsors and surrounding businesses.
We are so lucky as young women to have this opportunity that others our age may not have in their home towns. It is an amazing experience and hopefully it will go on for many, many years to come. I would also like to thank Little Miss Nisswa 2002, Erika Schwalbe. I couldn't have done all those Fourth of July parades without her, and it was so much fun to share the experience with her. Last, I need to thank my family and friends for supporting me, and making sure this past year would be remembered for a lifetime.
Being Miss Nisswa, I have learned an entirely new meaning of the words "responsibility" and "community." The sense of togetherness in our town has given me a new feeling of love and respect for the people of our community.
The way I see it, it's like an understanding we have here; our own intimate form of "Minnesota Nice." And I will say that I am one of many who is proud to be a significant part of representing Nisswa, Minnesota.
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