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Miss Northwest to Miss Minnesota

This time around, Becky Anderson is older, more mature and ready for anything. That's why she's even more excited for the Miss Minnesota pageant next week.

"I feel better prepared," she said. "I feel I have the upper hand."

Anderson, 21, traveled to the Miss Minnesota pageant a couple years ago as Miss Frazee. This year, she is going as Miss Northwest.

Anderson, of Frazee, will be leaving June 11 for a week of fun and bonding with the other 16 contestants. The competition is June 17-18 at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

Friday (June 17) night consists of the Miss Minnesota and Miss Teen Minnesota preliminary competitions. Miss Teen Minnesota will be crowned that night, and then the top eight Miss Minnesota contestants will proceed to the Saturday night competition.

On a new scoring system for the second year, 25 percent will be based on the interview, 15 percent on swimsuit, 35 percent on talent, 20 percent on evening wear and 5 percent on the on-stage question.

Thirty percent of the Friday night score is carried to Saturday night, where the top eight compete all over again.

After that competition, the group will be narrowed to the top five. Scores are then wiped clean and one interview question will be asked. Miss Minnesota and her runner-ups will be crowned from there.

Knowing a little more what to expect this time around, Anderson said she can "bring my game better. I have a better plan of attack."

After her last shot at Miss Minnesota, judges sent suggestions to contestants. Anderson said hers mainly consisted of comments on her young age -- she was only 19 at the time -- and that she needed to show her more mature side.

Anderson's ready this time.

"I feel that (maturity) now that I've graduated and I have some sort of path," she said. "I've changed a lot over the last couple years."

The interview portion is, of course, part of the process. Anderson said the topics usually consist of the candidate's platform and current events. One of the judges is on the 9/11 Commission, so there are likely to be questions on the war, she said.

"I kind of have it all written out," she said of some of her answers. Judges may also throw a question out there that has nothing to do with current events or platforms.

"It's to catch you off guard to be prepared for anything."

Anderson's platform for the year has been diabetes awareness, a subject close to her since her relative has diabetes.

In the last year, Anderson has helped raise over $5,000 with the local Walk for Diabetes, and also helped with the Fargo Walk for Diabetes, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association.

She has also been selling bracelets for the ADA for awareness.

In Frazee, Anderson participated in the Festival of Trees, decorating her tree as "S'more Awareness for Diabetes."

She has been attending diabetes meetings with her aunt to keep updated on diabetes news.

"I'm more passionate about it (diabetes) since it's in the family," she said.

Besides working on her platform, Anderson has been making appearances for the Jaycees, which is in charge of the Miss Northwest pageant.

"They've been a big help," she said of the organization.

On a personal level, Anderson graduated from Alexandria Technical College in human resources a week ago. Now her task is finding a job.

For the next week or so, though, she'll be concentrating on her trip to Miss Minnesota.

"My first goal is obviously the top eight. It'll be amazing to get top five. After that... My life would change the second I won," she said.

Anderson met her competition in April at a convention for the candidates, where "everyone is eyeing you up to see their competition."

Once June 11 rolls around, though, that will change. She said the week starts out with everyone kind of quiet, but all are friends by the end of the week.

Even if she doesn't take home the crown, Anderson is happy for the second chance. It is also an opportunity for her to boost the Miss Northwest program.

"I'll take a break from pageants and find a career," she said if she doesn't take home the Miss Minnesota sash.

Looking back over the year, Anderson said she sees several highlights and benefits, but her biggest is "the opportunity to go back to Miss Minnesota." Also working with the Jaycees. "They've been a great support system."

The Jaycees are hosting a send-off party Thursday evening where Anderson modeled the outfits she will be wearing during the Miss Minnesota competition.

"Now I'm nervous, trying on all this stuff," she told the group of well wishers.

Anyone wishing to send Anderson cards or flowers of support for the Miss Minnesota pageant next week can send them to Crowne Plaza, attn: Becky Anderson, 2200 Freeway Blvd., Minneapolis, MN 55430.

Anyone interested in participating in the Miss Northwest pageant can contact Kimberly Bultema at 847-3464.