HARTINGTON — Hartington business woman Jessica Albers, manager for The Chief Bar, just missed being named Miss South Dakota for 2011.
The title would have sent her on to the national competition for Miss U.S.A.
Instead, Albers earned the first runner-up spot in the Miss South Dakota competition that took place Oct. 7-9 in Brandon, S.D.
Albers, who was born in Walnut Creek, Calif.. moved to Yankton, S.D. with her family when she was 13 years old.
This area was familiar to her father, Dave Albers, who grew up in Cedar County and graduated from Cedar Catholic High School.
Albers graduated from Yankton High School and attended Mount Marty College.
Albers is not only at The Chief Bar in Hartington everyday, she is also the general manager for the Countryside Stores in Crofton and Allen and the Pronto in Creighton, also owned by her father.
“I have been working in the service industry since I was 12,” Albers said.
Albers was just 17 years old when she started competing in the Miss South Dakota competition.
Since then she has competed every year but one.
Albers has been one of the semi-finalists, and has made it to the Top Five every year.
“Since I was 17, I knew I wanted to win a state title and go to the nationals to compete for Miss USA,” Albers said. “I am a California girl – who became a South Dakotan who works in Nebraska – that aspires to be Miss U.S.A.”
According to Albers, a lot is involved before someone can participate in the state competitions or for Miss USA.
“There are a lot of high standards and high morals that have to be met,” Albers said. “The event requires a lot of speaking skills.”
There is a briefing session on the first day of the state competition and interviews are done with the judges. There are also preliminary competitions wearing swim suits and evening gowns
“The judges, which are new every year, have three minutes to get to know you,” she said.
On the second day, the semi-finalists are announced and they compete again in swim suits and evening gowns. Then the competition is narrowed down to the Top Five.
“The on-stage questions are done next. It is my favorite part because that is when the audience gets to know who you are,” Albers said. “You do not know ahead of time what the questions will be.”
This year’s question for Albers – what is the one quote that you live by.
Albers didn’t have any trouble answering.
– “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from swinging the bat,” she told the judges.
That’s been her philosophy all along.
Albers believes the competitions have made a big difference in her life.
“It is the best thing I have every done. It has turned me into a strong, independent woman,” she said.
Albers is proud to have earned the spot of first runner-up but she was especially disappointed to not reign as the 2011 Miss South Dakota.
“It was really sad to not win this year and not have a chance to go on to the nationals. It might have been my last chance to compete for Miss U.S.A.,” she said. “I might have aged-out this year.”