By Jonni Joyce
It was an exciting weekend in Brookings on the campus of South Dakota State University at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center as the 76th Annual Miss South Dakota Scholarship competition Ignite the Night was held.
Twenty delegates competed for the crown.
Martin’s own Miranda Orth O’Bryan, daughter of Mikaela and Chris O’Bryan won the competition and was crowned Miss South Dakota making her eligible to compete in the Miss America contest.
To become Miss South Dakota, you first must win a local competition. O’Bryan had been crowned Miss Missouri River. She had also been crowned Miss State Fair.
More than 12,000 young women participate each year in local and state events. Fifty two national finalists will vie for the Miss America title.
Local Facebook pages lit up the night as announcement of O’Bryan’s victory was made.
O’Bryan, wearing a rose red evening gown was overcome with emotion as she was crowned on stage to the screams and applause of those in attendance.
The top five order was Miranda O’Bryan, Miss South Dakota; Carly Goodhart, 1st Runner up; Payton Steffensen, 2nd Runner up; Baylee Dittman, 3rd Runner up; and Rio Snyder, 4th Runner up.
The Miss America Opportunity is a year round program representing style, service, scholarship, and success, the four points of the Miss America crown.
Competitors acquire life-long skills while earning scholarships, meeting other like-minded women, cultivating their own personal style, and engaging with their communities.
The scholarship awards help contestants pay for their education. Community service is now at the heart of the Miss America organization, raising awareness and millions of dollars to worthy causes.
O’Bryan is an advocate for education and reading. She hosts Page Turners Podcast where she works to ensure that everyone can fall in love with reading.
O’Bryan fell in love with reading as a child when her mom, Mikaela, would read fairytales to her every night and spent time in the local library where her grandmother served as a librarian.
O’Bryan loved reading the Twighlight series as a young adult and writes that her personality and career path were shaped by her favorite books. She graduated from South Dakota State University with a double major in history and journalism.
Through her work as Miss Missouri River 2023, O’Bryan has collected over ten thousand books to support reading initiatives across the state. The books were donated to the South Dakota Department of Health.
O’Bryan’s cousin passed away as an infant and each Mother’s Day, the family participates in the Run for their Lives 5K in Spearfish. This year O’Bryan and her family built and stocked a “little library” for the community.
O’Bryan is employed by KOTA and KEVN as an anchor and multi-media journalist. As a student at SDSU, she was nominated for the Upper Midwest Emmy Student Production Award for her work with Jacks News.