The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Parker Kulczyk
The Courier 

Miss Montana: Competition of Character and Uniqueness


Family and friends of Abbi Helland pose for a post-competition photo. (L-R): Sheila Wolff, Sam Schultz, Jacob Wolff, Parker Kulczyk, Pete Helland, Olivia Helland, Ryan Padden, Chloe Koessl, Ora Neves (Abbi's princess for the week), Abbi Helland, Allison Helland, Autumn Gault, Madison Marlenee, Julie Theis (third runner-up), Pam Marlenee, Lily Helland, Julie Neves and Madison Hansen

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Miss Montana Pageant in Glendive. Before going, I thought it would merely be formal event with contestants having little ability to express themselves. I found out otherwise. The 11 contestants all brought something different and unique to the pageant, which made it entertaining to attend. Naturally, I came to show my own personal support for Abbi Helland, of Glasgow. Not only was I covering the event, she is also a friend.

Each contestant had a platform, something close to their heart that they would like to spread awareness about. Abbi's platform was "Finding the Ability Beyond the Disability."

There were five categories in the competition: lifestyles, swimsuit, evening gown, talent and an on-stage question. The talent portion seemed to stand out the most to the audience. There were also performances by local talent and former Miss Montanas, as well as the 2016 Miss Montana Outstanding Teen Competition. (Faith Johnson of Helena took home the crown for that competition.)

With most of the contestants deciding to either sing, dance, or play an instrument, Abbi chose to separate herself from the group, while also tying into her platform topic. She used her sign language skills to sign the popular "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten. Saturday morning, before the finals, she posted this on Facebook:

"After last night's show, a woman and her deaf daughter approached me, thanked me for my talent, and told me how much it meant to them. So tonight, crown or no crown, I will walk away feeling like a winner."

After finalists were chosen, a short list which included Helland, competitors once again performed the talent, evening gown, swimsuit and on-stage questions. There were other performances from Miss Montana 2015 and Miss South Dakota 2015, among others. After this, all of the competitors were brought on stage for the results. Helland was announced as the fourth runner-up, earning a $1,250 scholarship. Lauren Scofield of Havre was crowned as the new Miss Montana, and the competition was completed.

Although she was not crowned the winner, Abbi and the community of Glasgow have a lot to be proud of. Her performance no doubt touched many audience members and her platform was sincere and heartfelt.

I can't speak for every state, but Montana should be proud of all 11 contestants. We would be extremely lucky to have any of them as our Miss Montana.

Another high note on the weekend was Abbi's boyfriend, Sam Schultz, taking home a $2,000 jackpot from a Glendive casino! Seems like it was winners all around!


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