Kenosha’s Laura Kaeppeler has turned over her crown.
Kaeppeler finished her year as Miss America Saturday night, crowning the 2013 winner at the annual pageant in Las Vegas. The winner was Mallory Hagan, Miss New York.
The current Miss Wisconsin, Kathryn Bess Gorman, did not advance to the semifinals.
Last year Kaeppeler, 24, won the competition on the strength of her singing voice in the talent competition, and her poise in answering the question of judges, as well as winning the swimsuit competition.
She was relatively new to the pageant world, getting into the competitions at the urging of a friend who had previously won the Miss Kenosha pageant. Kaeppeler won Miss Kenosha in 2010, then placed second runner-up at Miss Wisconsin. In 2011, she won the Miss Wisconsin competition.
Over the past year, she has been kept on a tight schedule by the Miss America organization, traveling some 200,000 miles, visiting the White House, and making appearances at events, including the 2012 Super Bowl.
She has still found time to make it back to her hometown, appearing in the Civic Veterans Parade, and performing at Carthage College, St. Joseph Catholic Academy, and with the Kenosha Pops Concert Band.
During her farewell Saturday night, she said spending time with children from Children’s Miracle Network hospitals was a highlight of the last 12 months.
“I want to thank my family, friends and Miss America supporters for making my year one to remember,” she said. “I have had a great year. It’s been an amazing journey.”
At Saturday’s competition, Kaeppeler made several appearances. She introduced the broadcast, was shown visiting with members of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and promoting tourism in Las Vegas.
Kaeppeler said after her win last year that she planned to attend law school after her year as Miss America was complete.
The Kenosha News will publish a special section commemorating Kaeppeler’s year as Miss America on Jan. 26. It will include an exclusive interview with Kaeppeler as well as a look at her travels and photographs from throughout the year.