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UND student prepares for Miss USA pageant

Kelsey Erickson (left) and Codi Miller were crowned 2009 Miss North Dakota USA and Miss North Dakota Teen USA in Fargo.

GRAND FORKS - Attitude is everything, says Miss North Dakota USA Kelsey Erickson, a UND student who is preparing for the 58th annual Miss USA competition April 19 in Las Vegas.

"Keeping a positive attitude is the most important thing you can do, especially in difficult situations, and learning to stand up for yourself and what you believe in," said Erickson, who grew up in Grafton, N.D. "If you have a positive attitude on things, it influences other people as well."

Being a role model was one of the things that drew Erickson, 22, a nursing major at UND, into the pageant world. She's been competing for about three years now, including in Miss America scholarship competitions.

Winning the Miss North Dakota USA title last fall in Fargo was the first time she'd entered a Miss USA contest, she said.

Erickson, a former cross-country runner and an avid ice skater up through high school, moved to Grand Forks to attend college. Since then, her parents, Russell and Nancy Erickson, have moved here. She has one brother, Patrick.

In high school, Erickson participated in Family Career and Community Leaders of America, which was one of the places she learned good presentation skills that have helped her in competitions. She was a hockey cheerleader and remains a fan of the sport, she said.

Erickson said she believes in pageant competitions as ways for young women to fulfill their goals, to become more poised and confident, and to make a difference in their communities.

Erickson will leave Grand Forks on April 3 for Las Vegas. Her luggage will be filled with club wear and cocktail dresses, her interview wear (which she has yet to select) and her evening wear, a brilliant white gown covered with beading, which is being designed by Caroline Hayden Brost of Crookston. Her Bible will go along with her, as well.

"Doing Bible devotions helps keep me calm," she said. "I don't have a lucky charm, but I like to bring a favorite pearl necklace that my parents gave me when I was 20 just because it means a lot to me."

The Miss USA competition will be broadcast live from Las Vegas at the Theatre for the Performing Arts located at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, a news release said. If you'd like to contact Erickson for a personal appearance, you can e-mail her at