Aly Wilhelmi Downs has held many titles in her life: daughter, student, volunteer, project specialist, wife, and as of June, the title of Mrs. North Dakota America.
Posted July 22, 2013
Downs started participating in pageants after her uncle encouraged her to try it as a way to showcase her musical ability. Her first pageant experience was a local Miss America competition when she was in graduate school. It was such a great experience for her that she has continued to enter pageants, winning her first state pageant in 2010.
During this time, she also received her master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of North Dakota. Her studies and her personal life helped her develop her platform, “Coping with Stress: Crowning Your Health,” that she used while she was Miss North Dakota International 2010 and will continue to use as
Mrs. North Dakota America 2013.
The platform helps people cope and deal with stress in their life. Downs admits that while most people view her as calm, she also needs to be reminded of her message which “helps me refocus, practice what I preach.”
Downs gives her presentation to various groups and says the message is relevant even in a state that has seen economic advantages because those in North Dakota have not escaped stress. If you would like Downs to speak at your engagement contact her at mrsnd.com.
A little over a year ago, her life changed when she married Kyle Downs; this could have meant the end of pageants for her, but instead she decided to enter a pageant that focuses on family: the Mrs. North Dakota America Pageant.
In order to be part of the pageant, competitors must be married and at least 18 years of age. There is no age limit and competitors have been over 60 in the past. Family is the focus of the pageant, and that unit can be as a small as a husband and wife or large with multiple children.
In order to enter the pageant, Downs had to apply to the state director. Part of the application process includes a resume with community service, something Downs is committed to with her service to organizations that deal with mental illness and its ramifications.
Once it was evident that Downs was the only “Mrs.” from Bismarck that would be applying she was awarded the title, and then started to make local public appearances, mostly talking about her platform.
From there, she got ready for the state competition held in June in Jamestown. The competition includes swimsuit, evening gown, where she was escorted by her husband, and an interview portion. The interview portion is private and allows the contestants to connect with the judges as they answer questions ranging from their personal platform to current events.
After the events were concluded, the winner was announced and at that point Downs said she had peace. Once her name was called as Mrs. North Dakota, she soaked in the moment realizing that it is a, “big honor but also a big job.”
After winning the crown, Downs said it has been very busy with the different events she is part of, including taking in Langdon’s 125th Celebration where she was in the parade, was part of the Little Miss Langdon Pageant, plus maintaining her career as a project specialist in education for St. Alexius Medical Center and a Ph.D student in Educational Foundations and Research. But the busy schedule comes with a few rewards, like a personal meet and greet with the governor.
The national competition will be held on Aug. 20-28 in Tucson, Ariz., and since this is a family focused competition, her husband will be along with her as she represents North Dakota. If she wins, it will be Kyle who will crown his wife, similar to the local pageant where he was included as part of the awards ceremony.
One of the interesting parts of the national competition is the national costume portion, where each contestant wears a costume to represent their respective states. Downs said her costume will represent the energy aspect of the state focusing on the oil industry found here.
Downs is the daughter of Bob and Jean Wilhelmi of Nekoma. The Wilhelmi’s are the owners of the Pain Reliever. Downs is a 2002 graduate from Langdon Area High School.
For those interested, the national pageant may be televised or streamed online.
Please follow Aly on Facebook: Mrs. North Dakota America Pageant or her blog: peacegardenstatestyle.blogspot.com