Miss Minnesota USA
Despite a strong start in the first three years of competition at Miss USA, Minnesota has been only mildly successful overall. In more recent years Minnesota has twice received recognition with the Miss Photogenic award.
Barbara Peterson was the first Miss Minnesota USA to be crowned Miss USA (in 1976), and was also the first Miss USA to be unplaced at Miss Universe. Her sister Polly Peterson was Miss Minnesota USA 1981.
The Miss Minnesota USA pageant was first held in 1952. That year's winner was Jodell Stirmlinger. Her win was followed by Mary Ann Papke in 1953 and Dawn Joyce in 1954. All three placed in the top 20 or better at the Miss USA contest. Minnesota would not see another contestant place at Miss USA until 1976 when Barbara Peterson became the state's first (and to date only) Miss USA winner. She did not place at the Miss Universe 1976.
Miss Minnesota USA was not held from 1960–64. The following year Miss Minnesota USA winner Elizabeth Jane Carroll won the Miss Congeniality award at the Miss USA pageant.
Peterson's 1976 success was followed by Deborah Cossette, who was the second runner up at Miss USA. Barbara Peterson's sister, Polly Peterson, won the 1981 Miss Minnesota USA title. She was also the second runner up at the 1976 Miss Teenage America pageant, but didn't place im 1981 Miss USA contest.
In 1988, Sue Bolich won Miss Minnesota USA. Bolich reigned from November 1987 to February 1988, when she resigned after being arrested for shoplifting. First runner-up Jolene Stavrakis resigned days later after she revealed she had pleaded guilty to shoplifting in 1986. Second runner-up Julie Nelson was crowned less than a month before the Miss USA pageant.
In 1989, Julie Knutson won the Miss Minnesota USA title after being a Semifinalist in both 1987 and 1988. In 1990, Janet Tveita became the second Miss Minnesota USA winner to win a special award at Miss USA, taking Miss Congeniality. April Herke, who had been the fourth runner-up in Miss Oktoberfest 1990, won the 1991 crown. The 1992 winner, Amber Rue, completed her reign amid publicity about a "public lovers' quarrel involving allegations of coerced sex, extortion, fraud, and defamation of character".
Stavrakis returned in 1993 to reclaim the title, in what was her last year of eligibility, after having her criminal record expunged. The placed 10th at Miss USA. Her successor, Angelique de Maison, placed 5th at Miss USA.
The 1996 winner, Karin Smith, would later appear on ABC's The Bachelor. After winning the 1997 pageant, Melissa Hall would go on to win Mrs. Minnesota and place in the Top 10 of Mrs. America in 2004 under her married name, Melissa Young.
The 2000 Miss Minnesota USA winner, Paige Swenson, was previously Miss Minnesota Teen USA 1994, placing 13th at Nationals. She won the Miss Photogenic award at the Miss USA contest. Her successor, Anne Marie Clausen, would go on to win Mrs. Minnesota United States 2011, and place in the Top 10 at nationals under the name Anne Marie Moore.
Miss Minnesota 2002, Lanore Van Buren, was the 3rd runner up at Nationals. Her successor, Sarah Cahill, was previously named Miss Minnesota Teen USA in 1996. The 2005 title was held in Bloomington and won by Carrie Lee. It was her fourth attempt at the title as she had placed third runner-up to Cahill in 2003, was second runner-up in 2002 and made the semi-finals in 2001. She was the first woman from Sebeka to win the Miss Minnesota USA title.
The 2006 pageant was won by Dottie Cannon, who was the second runner-up the previous year. As Miss Minnesota USA, she was a representative of Future Productions. She failed to place in the nationally contest, but won the Miss Congeniality award. Alla Ilushka became the third former Miss Minnesota Teen USA (winning in 2002) to win Miss Minnesota USA in 2007. She had placed in the Top 10 of Miss Teen USA, but did not place at Miss USA.
Erica Nego, who won the 2009 title, placed 12th at Nationals. Two years later, she won Miss Universe Ghana. The 2012 Miss Minnesota USA, Nitaya Panemalaythong, also had an international flair having been born in Thailand.
The 2014 winner, Haley O'Brien, had previously won Miss Minnesota Teen USA in 2010 and Miss Collegiate America in 2012.
|Year||Name||Hometown||Age1||Miss USA Placement||Miss USA Special awards|
|2014||Haley O'Brien||Excelsior||21||Top 20|
|2013||Danielle Hooper||Inver Grove Heights||20||50|
|2009||Erica Nego||Plymouth||24||Top 15 (12th place)|
|2008||Kaylee Unverzagt||Eagan||20||Top 15 (15th place)|
|2007||Alla Ilushka||Eden Prairie||22||50|
|2006||Dottie Cannon||Eagan||22||50||Miss Congeniality|
|2003||Sarah Cahill||Waseca||24||50||Miss Photogenic|
|2002||Lanore Van Buren||Edina||26||3rd Runner-Up||Bluepoint Apparel Swimsuit and Fitness Award|
|2001||Anne Marie Clausen||Golden Valley||23||50|
|2000||Paige Swenson||Fridley||50||Miss Photogenic|
|1999||Crystal Vandenberg||Brooklyn Center||19||50|
|1998||Josan Hengen||Eden Prairie/Circle Pines||19||50|
|1996||Karin Smith||Brooklyn Park||25||50|
|1995||Angelique de Maison||St. Louis Park||Finalist (5th place)|
|1994||Jolene Stravrakis||Burnsville||Semifinalist (10th place)|
|1991||April Herke||Eden Prairie||50|
|1990||Janet Tveita||Minneapolis||50||Miss Congeniality|
|Jolene Stavrakis||Apple Valley||99N/A2|
|1987||Christine Rosenberger||South St. Paul||50|
|1985||Kari Lee Johnson||Minneapolis||4th Runner-Up|
|1983||Carolyn Mattson||New Hope||50|
|1982||Lori Kmetz||New Brighton||50|
|1980||Carla Peterson||Albert Lea||Semifinalist (12th place)|
|1979||Cynthia Sue Lee||St. Paul||50|
|1978||Janey Gohl||St. Cloud||50|
|1977||Deborah Cossette||Minneapolis||2nd Runner-Up|
|1976||Barbara Peterson||Edina||Miss USA 1976|
|1975||Dawn Lamotte||St. Paul||50|
|1970||Sally Strickland||St. Paul||50|
|1967||Betty Ann Brewer||Richfield||50|
|1965||Elizabeth Jane Carroll||Bloomington||50||Miss Congeniality|
|1957||Mary Margaret Ford||Minneapolis||50|
|1955||Sally Ann Colombo||Stillwater||50|
|1954||Dawn Joyce||Minneapolis||Semifinalist (Top 19)|
|1953||Mary Ann Papke||Minneapolis||Semifinalist (Top 20)|
|1952||Jodell Stirmlinger||St. Paul||Semifinalist (Top 10)|
1 Age at the time of the Miss USA pageant
2 Contestant resigned title before the Miss USA pageant
- Furst, Randy (1988-02-11). "3rd Miss Minnesota-USA has `nothing to hide'". Star-Tribune Newspaper of the Twin Cities Mpls.-St. Paul. p. 01A.
- "Shoplifting Suspect Won't Be Miss USA". San Francisco Chronicle. 1988-02-09. p. A2.
- Krattenmaker, Tom (1988-02-10). "Second Beauty Queen Withdraws Over Shoplifting". Associated Press.
- McAuliffe, Bill (1992-11-02). "Public lovers' quarrel mars Miss Minnesota USA's reign // Couple traded lawsuits alleging coerced sex, extortion". Star-Tribune Newspaper of the Twin Cities Mpls.-St. Paul. p. 01B.
- Blake, Laurie (1993-11-11). "Miss Minnesota USA reaches crown and glory again // Five years ago she had to forfeit her title". Star-Tribune Newspaper of the Twin Cities Mpls.-St. Paul. p. 03B.
- "2004 Mrs America". Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- "Danielle Hooper Crowned Miss Minnesota USA 2013". Beauty Pageant News. November 26, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
- Francis, Delma (2006-04-17). "Ambition takes local woman to Baltimore; Miss Minnesota USA, Dottie Cannon of Eagan, is competing Friday in the Miss USA pageant.". Star-Tribune. p. 10E.
- "New Miss Minnesota-USA, Miss Minnesota Teen USA crowned" (Press release). Associated Press. 1998-11-30.
- Freeborn, Dan (1992-11-19). "She's got her cap set for an education // `No. 1 priority is school,' says Miss Minnesota USA". Star-Tribune Newspaper of the Twin Cities Mpls.-St. Paul. p. 07B.