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Wachholz to represent Minnesota at Miss America Outstanding Teen pageant

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It’s been a whirlwind week for Bailey Wachholz — a week that she said still doesn’t seem real.

“It still hasn’t hit me, it’s really just crazy,” said Wachholz, who was crowned Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen on Saturday. “I’ve worked for this for four years, it was really sweet to have it (the crown) finally placed on my head.”

Having competed in nine different pageant competitions in the past four years, Wachholz was named Miss Brainerd Lakes Outstanding Teen in January, which led her to the state finals in Eden Prairie.

Using a platform affecting her personally, Wachholz speaks out at schools across the area about Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a disease suffered by her dad, Duane.

“Part of the Miss America organization is you have to have a platform and mine, which I chose when I started (competing) at the age of 13, the same year my dad was diagnosed, was Alzheimer’s,” said Wachholz, whose experience in appearances on behalf of her platform will come in handy for her duties as Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen. “I really wanted to help other children affected by this disease like I have been.”

And the honor is not lost on her dad, who was the first one to rush and give her a hug after earning the Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen title.

“I’m extremely proud, that’s for sure,” said Duane. “She worked so hard during the whole course of four years and it paid off.

“And I’m so very proud of her.”

Wachholz — the first title holder to come out of Brainerd — wasn’t the only area teen to earn honors at the Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen finals. Miss Baxter Outstanding Teen, Savannah Cole, earned first runner-up.

JESSI PIERCE may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).