Newly crowned Miss Wadena takes sibling teasing in stride

A sash lettered with "2007 Miss Wadena" hangs alongside a banner proclaiming "She's out of this World!" in the Papillon's down-to-earth home on First Street.

A sash lettered with "2007 Miss Wadena" hangs alongside a banner proclaiming "She's out of this World!" in the Papillon's down-to-earth home on First Street.

The mementos are in honor of Rachel Papillon's crowning as Miss Wadena Sunday night in Memorial Auditorium.

The win came as quite a surprise to the modest 18-year-old.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "All the other girls were so talented."

When Miss Wadena 2006 Briana Grothmann was hovering the crown over the contestants' heads, Papillon thought a girl next to her was going to win the crown, she said.


"I was ready to start screaming for her, but then [Briana] put it on my head," Papillon said.

The crowning dazed Papillon for a bit, she said. Afterwards, she thought it was a dream.

"I was like, are you sure this is happening to me?" she recalled. "I dreamed about it, of course, but I never thought it would actually happen to me."

But it did happen for her.

In order to prepare her for the pageant, Papillon's brother, David, treated her like queen, she said.

He didn't address her as "your highness," though.

"Now he is," Papillon said with a smile.

David can also be heard serenading "you're my lucky star" to his sister.


Her other siblings are also having some fun with Papillon's new title.

"They're being kind of sarcastic," she said. "[They're saying] 'Oh, let me open the door for you.'"

In addition to Papillon's crowning as Wadena royalty, she also won the talent portion of the competition with a piano solo of "Maple Leaf Rag," by Scott Joplin. She was decked out with a strand of long beads and a 1920s-style dress with an accent of feathers in her hair for the fast-fingered performance.

The dresses Papillon wore all came together at the last moment, she said. The Madhatters theater archive provided her talent competition ensemble and she borrowed a red dress from her sister-in-law for the evening gown competition. It arrived only a few days before the pageant.

The pageant brought some last minute excitement and a fun time with other contestants, but it also provided some learning opportunities for Papillon.

She learned how to present herself in an interview, which is important, she said. The interview competition involved giving a little speech about herself to the three judges seated behind a table and then answering their questions.

"It wasn't too bad," Papillon said. "They smile at you and laugh at your jokes so it's not very intimidating."

Papillon also learned lessons in stage presence and how to be more confident in herself, she said.


These are lessons that will be valuable for her new role as Miss Wadena. Papillon will attend parades, benefit concerts and other local ceremonies.

She is looking forward to representing Wadena along with First Princess Kayla Youngbauer and Second Princess Danielle Nehk, she said.

"I think they're so funny and I love being around them," she said. "So I think it will be good."

Papillon plans on attending the Association Free Lutheran Bible School in Plymouth, Minn., next fall. She is thinking about majoring in music at Northwestern College in Minneapolis in the future, but she hasn't decided yet, she said. Her parents are Steve and Linda Papillon.

For those interested in hearing Papillon's performance of "Maple Leaf Rag," the Scott Joplin tune will be part of her senior recital at 3 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Auditorium.

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